The History & Significance Of Warli

The History & Significance Of Warli

The Origin and History of Warli Painting

Warli painting is a traditional art form that originated in the Warli tribe of Maharashtra, India. The history of Warli painting can be traced back to more than 3000 BCE. The Warlis are an indigenous tribe that inhabits the rugged terrain of the Western Ghats mountain range, which runs parallel to the western coast of India.

The Warli people lived in small hamlets and practiced agriculture as their primary occupation. They lived in harmony with nature and worshiped it in various forms. The Warli people expressed their reverence for nature and their simple way of life through their art.

Introduction to Warli Painting

Warli painting is characterized by its simplicity and minimalism. The paintings are made using only two colors, white and red, white & brown or white & black. The white pigment is made from rice paste, while the red pigment is obtained from geru (red laterite soil), the brown from cow dung and the black from carcoal.  The paintings depict scenes from the daily life of the Warli people, such as hunting, fishing, farming, and dancing.

Warli painting is considered one of the oldest forms of art in India. The paintings were originally created on the walls of the Warli homes using natural pigments. The art form remained largely unknown to the outside world until the 1970s when a few Indian artists discovered it.

Warli Painting in Modern Times

In the 1970s, Jivya Soma Mashe, a Warli artist, gained recognition for his paintings. He was the first Warli artist to exhibit his work in galleries in India and abroad. His work brought Warli painting to the attention of the art world, and it soon gained popularity as a unique and authentic Indian art form.

Today, Warli painting is widely recognized as a valuable contribution to Indian art. The Indian government has even recognized Warli painting as a protected intellectual property under the Geographical Indications of Goods Act. The Act aims to protect traditional knowledge and cultural heritage of the people of India.

The popularity of Warli painting has led to its commercialization. Today, Warli paintings are sold as handicrafts and home décor items. The paintings are also used in the textile and fashion industry, where they are used as motifs on sarees, kurtas, and other garments.

The Future Of Warli

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Warli painting, especially among the younger generation. Many artists are experimenting with the traditional form, incorporating new techniques and colors to create contemporary works of art. The art form has also gained international recognition, and Warli paintings are now exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.

In conclusion, Warli painting is a unique and authentic Indian art form that has been passed down from generation to generation. The simplicity and minimalism of Warli painting make it a valuable contribution to the world of art. It is a testament to the Warli people's way of life and their reverence for nature. Warli painting is not just a form of art; it is a reflection of the Warli culture and way of life.

In our W'aari collection we are bringing two young female warli artists to the forefront. Know them here. 

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