Friday, February 11, 2011

Warli painting (Night of Stars)

Warli art is an ancient Indian folk art tradition of painting. Indian paintings have been in the forefront for their superior creative and imaginative skills. The Warli art form has derived its name from a tribe in Maharashtra by the same name. Historians believe that the Warli tradition can be traced back to as far as the Neolithic period between 2,500 BC and 3,000 BC. It has since, traveled across borders and territories and today has a major international market.

The Warli paintings essentially depict the harvest season with social customs such as weddings and births. The Warli houses also see a pattern in decoration and designs. The Warli art has a special characteristic of representing the humble life of the Warli tribe. The use of colour is usually white against earthen colors. Interestingly, geometric designs are the dominant patterns in Warli paintings and dots and crooked lines make up the units of their composition. Warli art is known for its monochromatic depictions that express the folk life of socio-religious customs, imaginations and beliefs.

The technique to working on Warli art is as follows:

  • Choose a design.
  • Draw the required design on to the trace paper. Then copy the design onto the cloth or paper using a carbon sheet.
  • If it is a cloth, then use metallic colors and let it dry well. Iron on the reverse side of the cloth. If it is paper, then use poster colors.
  • Draw outlines using white colour and leave it to dry for 24 hours.
Contemporary Warli paintings have however branched out of the usual colors and have started using vibrant as well as rustic colors. Marriage is one of the most important themes in Warli art. Their marriage god, Palghat, birds, trees, men and women dancing in circles, various celebrations, etc are popular Warli depictions. Flora and fauna, musicians, agriculture, etc are some other paintings that are generic of Warli art. The modern Warli art comprises of abstract as well as more regular representation of objects such as bicycles, transistors, etc in corners of paintings.

Warli art uses some common colours and ingredients like henna, indigo, ochre, black, earthy mud and brick red. Warli paintings on paper have become a popular medium of art and are available across India. The small paintings are done on cloth pieces and paper but they look best as wall frames such as the Murals. India paintings have considered Warli art to be one of the most aesthetically appealing forms of art.

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