Contemporising Tradition: Jivya Soma Mashe
In addition to the collaborations that we have studied, we can also find more instances of Indigenous traditions making their way into the realm of Indian contemporary art in the history of art. Artists like Jangarh Singh Shyam (1962–2001), Gangadevi (1928–1991) and Bhuri Bai (b. 1969) have been integral in popularising Madhubani, Gond and Pithora painting, among other traditions. In 1998, the Crafts Museum in New Delhi held an exhibition titled ‘Other Masters: Five Contemporary Folk and Tribal Artists of India’, which brought to the fore the works of five Indian artists who had, up until then, been excluded from the narrative of modern art. In this topic, we will be taking a close look at the practice of one such artist, Jivya Soma Mashe (1934–2018), whose work has been instrumental in drawing recognition to the tradition of Warli painting.
Warli painting refers to a mural painting tradition that may date as far back as 3000 or 2500 BCE. It is created by the Warli people, an indigenous tribe living along the Maharashtra-Gujarat border in western India. Despite some assimilation of Hindu cultures and traditions, the Warli people have their own animistic beliefs and customs, which are represented in their unique approach to painting. Let’s look at how one artist has been credited with bringing this painting tradition to the fore.
For more information on Indigenous art practices like Warli and their practitioners, refer to the following MAP Academy articles:
- Jivya Soma Mashe
- Warli Painting
- National Crafts Museum & Hastakala Academy, Delhi
- Jangarh Singh Shyam
- Rajesh Vangad