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Folk Art of India

Madhubani Art


Madhubani art originated in a small village, known as Maithili, in Bihar state of India. It is a folk art practiced mostly by women on freshly plastered mud walls of their homes in the villages.  The themes and motifs of Madhubani art are drawn from a palette of mythical figures, gods and goddesses, ritual activity and very importantly, local flora and fauna.


There are three main styles in Madhubani art. The Bharni style is identified by the use of vibrant colors and minimal use of lines, while beautiful patterns through the intricate use of lines mark the Kachni style. The Tattoo style uses the same motif repeated in a linear format. Traditionally the colors used were derived from natural sources like plants, charcoal soot, etc., but nowadays synthetic colors are also used. Today, artists are experimenting and adapting traditional styles to modern ethos and medium.



Bharni style

Kachini style

Warli Art


Warli art, originated in Thane district of Maharashtra state is raditionally created by tribal women. The word “Warli” comes from “warla” which means a piece of land or a field. These paintings depicts daily life scenes portraying hunting, fishing and farming, festivals and dances, trees and animals. Images of human beings and animals, along with scenes from daily life are created in a loose rhythmic pattern through very basic graphic expressions : a circle, a triangle and a square, and is done only in white. Nowadays, these paintings are made on hand-made paper, usually green or brown, the color of mud-walls with white paint.

Tattoo style

Warli  style

Fusion style


Fusion Folk Art


The fusion painting are created through a balanced fusion of the two folk arts representing what I call "Art of life" as life is neither very colorful nor black and white. Each painting is a free hand sketched unique composition done with water based colors –water color, acrylic colors and poster colors. The paintings are created around three key themes from Madhubani art - sun symbolizing light and prosperity, fish depicting good luck and fertility and snake symbolizing as divine protector and elements of nature from the Warli art.  Another key theme selected for the fusion paining is the popular "Tarpa Dance" where men and women entwine their hands and move in a circle around the Tarpa player who plays the Tarpa, a trumpet-like musical instrument.



© Lalima Srivastava
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