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Folk & Tribal Art

In December 2001, the township got enriched by the visit of two Indian artists: Kalyan Joshi hailing from Rajasthan doing 'Phad' paintings and Dilip of from Maharashtra doing 'Warli'.
They visited Auroville for a week and painted many walls in the township on commission.

Indian Folk and Tribal Art

In a vast country as India it is but natural that there is a great variety of folk and tribal art. Some of the major styles of these art forms are known as:

  • 'Phad' from Rajasthan,

  • 'Warli' from Maharashtra,

  • 'Pithora' from Gujarat,

  • 'Chittara' from Karnataka,

  • 'Patua' from West Bengal, and

  • 'Madubani' from Bihar.


In a 'Phad' painting colour, costume and culture are reflected in colours that are vegetable dyes which the artist himself prepares. The paintings have a mythlogical meaning and usually depict the story of Pabuji, a
Rajput revered for his deeds. Done usually in scrolls of 30 feet long, they show Pabuji's victory and the life style of his time. The colours are done on an off-white background used in a fixed order starting from orange-yellow to brown, green, red and finally black. White is merely used for decoration.


An innate simplicity marks 'Warli' art which is quite popular right now. It's done with rice paste on walls coated with cow dung. Stick figures come energetically to life when 'Warli' artists from Maharashtra get to work. Typically these paintings show a multitude of tiny human forms, hunting, dancing or cultivating the land.

'Warli' art has always been appreciated in Auroville with the Auroville Press developing a line of stationary with 'Warli'-based designs. Also on our website we have used some of this art forum in the section on Auroville's bio-region.

Auroville transformed..

Madhyam, an organisation from Bangalore, brought a presentation of these various art forms to Auroville and was also instrumental in bringing Kalyan Joshi Dilip here. They painted many walls using acrylic colours and it was an absolute joy to see them at work, and also to now see their work.

'Phad' paintings were done at Athithi Griha guesthouse in Bharat Nivas, the Kindergarten in the Centre of the town, Halcyon at the beach, Dharmesh's house at Petite Ferme as well as a temple wall in Alankuppam.
'Warli' paintings emerged at the above places as well, and also at Patrick's at Fertile East, Michel's pottery at Dana, Samasti Guest House, Udavi School and Kuilapalayam School.

Take a look next time you're here!

Contact: supriya@auroville.org.in 


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