It's a pleasant surprise that in a state that has around 20 cities shortlisted in the government's 'Smart City' plan, there still is immense respect for ages old tribal art. More importantly, it is still preserved and practised.
The Gondwana region of Madhya Pradesh, which includes Mandla, Balaghat, Chhindwara, Seoni and Shadol, has held the status of being a cultural hub for years. It is from this region that the matchless and popular Gond art originates. For an art this unique, the role of the canvas is often played by walls and doors. Artists use geru for walls, over which they use yellow and black clay for patterns. These patterns are a signature identity of the Gond art.
Co-existing with this is another ancient and popular art form – the Pithora paintings. Pithora paintings with their bright colours and animated figures often reflect the joyful sentiments of the tribe and the artists. Undoubtedly then, these mark the beginning of an auspicious occasion like a wedding, festivals and childbirth. This tradition started long back when artists used to display their elation for harvesting and fertility. The uniqueness of Pithora art lies in the fact that the artists use horses to represent Gods and Goddesses.
Both these art forms can be sighted prominently across the landscape of Madhya Pradesh. But there's one more art form, which, together with Gond and Pithora art, makes the state a treasure of tribal art. It is Chitera; a gift from the Bundelkhand region which comprises of Gwalior, Datia, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Jabalpur, Sagar, Damoh and adjoining areas.
These various art forms might be having their roots in ancient tribal beliefs and traditions, but today, these are one of the most sought after in the commercial market.