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Warli Art - Maharashtra

Warli Art and Warli painting are tribal art done majorly by the Adivasi community located in North Sahyadri Range in western India. The Warli community is the largest tribe located on the outskirts of Mumbai. Despite its close proximity to Mumbai, the Warli tribesmans have been able to shun most influences caused by urbanisation. Unassuming Warli figures painted in white on red ochre walls might not seem like much to the untrained eye. But a closer look will tell you that there’s more to Warli than what meets the eye. It is not just an art form, but a way of life for the Warli (Varli) tribes from the mountains and coastal regions in and around the borders of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Strokes, lines and a mass of dots swarm and vibrate on the canvas, coming together to form clever compositions. Details and the overall composition both contribute to creating a sense of life and movement.

Recurring themes, from tribal life and Warli legends, also form a part of celebrating life and movement. The Warli art is based on the concept of Mother Nature and the elements of nature are often kept in focus. Since farming is the tribes main way of living, they have immense respect for nature and wildlife for the resources that they provide. Warli artists are known to use their clay huts as backdrops for creating these warli paintings, similar to the way prehistoric paintings were made. Warli painting never uses religious iconography such as figures of gods and religious symbols. It represents nature as a god and talks about human dependence and association with nature. Warli paintings depict a sense of uniformity in people and highlight close social relations within their community members. Elements in paintings such as trees, animals, events, social gatherings and formations of humans are from real life scenarios and situations. A Warli painting can also be a visual narration of their traditional stories.

At Things Etc our traditional artists make warli art on waste pinewood products which is the major source of income to them. Next time you think of gifts think of these beautiful handmade goodness.

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