‘Modern Tribal’ embodies contemporary art through the lens of tribal artists
The Craft and Community Development Foundation (CCDF), set up in 2008 is organising Modern Tribal, a group show with art works selected from the Gondwana Art Project.
This exhibition brings together artworks which embody contemporary art through the lens of tribal artists – something CCDF has been working to get the limelight on since many years now. The show, curated by visual artists and art & folklore researcher Antara Dey, has 60 works on display by artists Anita Balu, Anita Shyam, Chandrakali, Geeta Bhariya, Jyoti Uikey, Rahul Shyam, Rajesh Mor, Rambai, Ramesh Shyam, Ramesh Vyam, Ravi Tekam, Rita Shyam, Santoshi Shyam, Sher Singh, Sita Meda, Sugiya Devi, Suresh Dhruve, Suresh Kumar and Yashpal Baranda.
The paintings are made exclusively on canvas and paper, using mediums such as acrylic colours, pen and ink, giving way to nuanced thoughts of modernity and progressiveness, while the usage of lines, form, composition and authentic storytelling, holding on tightly to the traditional aspect of creating folk or tribal art. The artists have threaded stories from their contemporary world breaking stereotypes, forming protective statements and making bold changes to the otherwise banal nature of their art, told through centuries.
The artworks in this exhibition as well as the repertoire that the foundation has created through selected folk artists, stand true as a testament, to show that the folk artists from the hidden villages of the geographical land of India, are equally if not more experienced and gifted as contemporary artists than any other gallery-represented contemporary artist.
This exhibition is an annual feature of CCDF, though we couldn’t hold it during the pandemic. We plan to take this show to other part of India as well abroad. Five of our artworks are already a part of international museums
CCDF Founder Sundeep Bhandari
Over the centuries, artists from the innumerable tribes of India have striven to express the idea of their lifestyle, lore & culture through art, music, textile & more. The most common way they found was to incorporate their folk art onto materials that could be purchased by the ‘mainland’ people and hence keeping the folk art alive. This meant that while a specific form of folk art should have been made on the peripheral walls of a hut somewhere in an undisclosed village, the artist now translated the artwork on a paper or a piece of cloth or even on bags and pottery for them to be accessible to the outsider public. This gave way to entrepreneurs hiring such folk artists to mass- produce objects solely for selling purposes – making no effort on keeping the art form itself alive.
The Gondwana Art Project, started in 2019, focusses on tribal artisans from the Gondwana Region in central India – MP Rajasthan, Orissa Maharashrta and Jharkhad – practicing Gond, Bhil, Warli, Sohrai & Kohvar art. The CCDF selects artists for this project based on the quality, talent, craftsmanship, introduction of new methods and techniques that express both traditional and contemporary imagery and values as well their economic status. All the artworks are unique pieces of tribal art incorporating design elements keeping in mind a wide range of global audiences. The artists have created these works under the guidance and mentoring by CCDF designers.
During the project the artisans are allowed to freely express their skills and experiment with new techniques, design and color palette, to create modern & contemporary tribal artworks.
The CCDF is a registered not for profit social entity set up with the aim to support and fund projects that enhance livelihood for communities focused on the art and crafts sector. The Foundation takes up projects for upskilling artisans by introducing new concepts and design, keeping intact the authenticity of their art.
At Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, from February 7-9, Delhi 11am till 7pm