Gond art, a tribal art form intricately linked with nature, has found a contemporary outlet in the works of Venkat Raman Singh Shyam, a second-generation artist from the Pardhan Gond tradition. In his latest exhibition, he merges identity and memory to recall in visuals the stories of his tribe.
‘Clouds of Wings’, his solo exhibition at Art Alive Gallery, views a body of his new works.
“It is true that I come from a tribe community where nature is understood, it is worshiped. There are also responsibilities, so I talk about reconciliation between nature and human beings,” Bhopal-based Shyam told IANS about his fresh works.
The 48-year-old artist said that the stories about “green trees, pure water and living organisms” that he heard in his childhood, are still alive in his mind. Because he experienced facts related to nature as stories, he was able to paint with a certain freshness still.
“All of them are sitting in my mind board.”
On a more philosophical note, the Gond artist said that life without nature is incomplete, and by knowing subjects of nature, viewers can safekeep few natural moments for their future life.
Shyam also said that “being a Gond means to discharge traditions which follow all the rules of nature and dedicate their lives to nature”.
“Mainly in Gond tradition, this art has a very deep attachment to society because it is associated with daily activities such as decorating the house with geometrical design and patterns, or giving a form to any useful item, even the walls of the house.”
Over the decades, Shyam’s trajectory has been to reclaim the songs and allegories of his ancestors but to impart his own unique perspective upon them.
He opined that although Gond art is famous for its style, motifs and special shapes, it reflects differently for each artist “even if the stories are alike”.
Calling the exhibition significant, the gallery said that it “showcases a body of new works that articulate his ideas as the world around him, once peopled with beloved gods, familiar flora and fauna with trees, birds and beasts hurtles into another time zone”.
Shyam’s uncle, the seminal Gond master artist Jangarh Singh Shyam, had introduced Gond art to the world.
The exhibition is open for public viewing here till May 30.