Folk and tribal art, passed from one generation to the next, is the creative expression of people who live in harmony with nature. Traditionally, these art forms, although sometimes purely decorative, were used to mark different occasions, such as celebrations, pacifying malevolent deities or forces of nature, thanksgiving, harvests, the birth of a child, puberty, marriage and cultural festivals. Painted narratives on various surfaces such as walls, floors, cloth, wood and paper became important source of knowledge about local mythology, deities, heroes, epics, epics, folktales and customs.
Over time, the visual vocabulary of folk and tribal painting expanded beyond traditional contexts and today has evolved into a new genre of ethnic art. Several traditional styled of painting, which till recently languished, are now flourishing in improved and altered mediums, surfaces and contexts. An overall social change revived the tribal and folk art forms and gave a large number of these artists a stable means of livelihood.
This book is an introduction to this unique and vibrant art form of India – a spectacular chronicle of its evolution, contextual development, continuity, brief obscurity and the recent marvelous resurgence.
Current working as a deputy director (Museum Collection) at the National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum, New Delhi, Charu Smita Gupta has a doctorate in Museology from Calcutta University and has taught the subject as a professor at the National Museum Institute.
Her knowledge of Indian handicrafts is based on painstaking fieldwork and research. As part of the curatorial team of the National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum, she has conceptualized several exhibitions, including ‘Traditions of South Asia.
She is the author of Zardozi, the Glittering Gold Embroidery and continues to write on handicrafts, handlooms and museology.
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