Folk arts are visual arts that represent the ethnicity and traditions of the native people. They portray the cultural life of a community or society. Folk arts comprise music, dance, paints or even handmade artifacts. Let’s talk about the folk arts of India.

India is known for its diverse culture and traditions. The 35 states and union territories sprawled across the country have their own distinct cultural and traditional identities, displayed through various forms of art prevalent there, known as folk art. Many of the states have a unique form of painting that portrays the rich heritage of the state.

So what are these paintings, you ask? Well, the list is huge.

Madhubani painting of Bihar, Pattachitra Art of Odisha, Pithora Painting of Rathvas and Bhilalas tribes of Gujarati, Kalamkari Painting of Andhra Pradesh, Warli Art of Maharashtra, Chittara paintings of Karnataka, Gond art predominant in Madhya Pradesh and so on. These paintings are also internationally recognized for their aesthetic sensibility and distinctive features.

The three most recognized folk art paintings:

Let me enlighten you about 3 of the most famous folk art paintings of India: Kalamkari, Madhubani and Gond art paintings.

Kalamkari Painting: ‘Kalam’ meaning pen and ‘Kari’ meaning craftsmanship this type of painting literally stands for ‘painting made using a pen’, usually done on cotton or silk fabrics using a tamarind pen and natural dyes. This art was mostly practiced in parts of Andhra Pradesh and involves 23 tedious steps of dyeing, bleaching, hand painting, block-printing, starching, cleaning and more. Kalamkari was born out of the art of story-telling, where people who traveled from one place to another told stories which were depicted on to a canvas.

Madhubani Painting: It is also known as ‘Mithila art’ since it was most widely practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar. The women of Bihar used to draw images of deities or festivals on the mud-walls of their huts using only natural colors derived from turmeric, pollen, pigments, indigo, sandalwood, various flowers and leaves of various plants and trees. The paintings usually comprised of complex geometrical patterns, made during religious festivals or any such important events.

Gond art: This is a form of painting from folk and tribal art, practiced by one of the largest tribes in India – the Gond – who are predominantly from Madhya Pradesh. This art can also be found in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, and Odisha. The work included folk tales and culture of the Gond people, thus story-telling being highlighted as the distinctive feature of this art.

Folk Art painting classes:

We, as the proud citizens of India, should pass on these slowly dwindling folk art forms to the future generations. After all, India is made unique only by its people and the traditions followed by them. You can practice these forms in your free time and make others aware of its existence. We can help you with that. With Kalamkari, Madhubani and Gond art painting classes conducted by PencilandChai Fine arts Gurukul, not only do you get to fine-tune your art skills but also practice it with our talented and proficient trainers. Batches start from March 7th and yes, on weekends! You can learn more about these classes here and also on our Facebook page.