Showcasing the journey of artworks by women: A photo exhibition by Tara Books explores moments of happiness and self-fulfilment – Tamil Nadu

Feminine strokes A photo exhibition by Tara Books showcases the journey of artworks by women, from households to galleries, ‘bazaars’ and books

by Tanushree Ghosh,, Fri, Mar 07 2014 | Read the full story and view more photos here:

The art that women make every day, as part of their lives, is difficult to define. Chennai-based indie feminist publisher Tara Books aims to showcase just this in a photography exhibition, Floor to Book: Women’s Everyday Art Traditions, starting on Saturday, International Women’s Day, in Chennai. “The women who make such art seldom see it as art. Neither do those who write about art imagine that household spaces are congenial to the making of ‘art’ as we understand it in the modern sense,” says V. Geetha, editorial director of Tara Books. For over a decade, the organization has been exploring the trajectory of indigenous art forms and their women practitioners from rural areas and tribal communities, bringing such work to the forefront through illustrations in its books.

This exhibition’s three sections—Everyday Art; Transitions; and The Book—will map the journey of these folk art forms. It will feature images of women making kolam outside homes in villages, towns and cities every day in Tamil Nadu; aripana from Bihar, done by Brahmin and Kayastha women during marriage and religious ceremonies; Bihar’s khobar wall art, done exclusively inside the bridal chamber; digna, drawn inside and outside homes in Madhya Pradesh’s Adivasi Gond region to mark the harvest season and other festivities; and mandna from Rajasthan, done by Meena women during the harvest season, before Diwali and Teej; Warli women in Maharashtra make warli art on walls during harvest season and weddings.

Most folk and tribal art is acknowledged to have emerged from such everyday art, says the exhibition brochure. Women, the custodians and torch-bearers of this tradition, beautify their homes—thresholds, floors, walls, alcoves, prayer spaces—as part of housework, which involves physical labour and commitment. It is one of the many things they do as a daily routine.

We want to make a case for seeing women’s creative labour within the household as holding out possibilities for those women who wish to transcend their given roles, as mothers, wives, and for whom the making of art can hold out a moment of epiphany, happiness and self-fulfilment,” says Geetha, who has curated the exhibition along with her colleague and author Gita Wolf. While gods are invoked in aripana imagery, dignas stick to geometric and abstract designs, and kolams to dots and lines; most other imagery and motifs are part of the collective repertoire that women access by watching and learning from other women. Warli and khobar imagery has to do with fertility; Meena women draw images of nurture, baby animals and birds with their mothers. […]

Source: Feminine strokes – Livemint
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[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Do! – look inside >>
Do! is a set of action pictures, rendered in the Warli style of tribal art. It introduces basic verbs to the young reader through a series of brilliantly drawn pictograms, which illustrate the verb and tell a story.
Source: SHOP | Tara Books
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Tara Books is an independent publisher of picture books for adults and children based in Chennai, South India. Founded in 1994, we remain a collective of dedicated writers, designers and artists who strive for a union of fine form with rich content. We continue to work with a growing tribe of adventurous people from around the world. Fiercely independent, we publish a select list that straddles diverse genres, offering our readers unusual and rare voices in art and literature.

Source: About the Tara Books team | Tara Books
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Date Visited: Sun Nov 23 2014 11:39:02 GMT+0100 (CET)

Do! is handmade book published by Tara Books, India. It is a set of action pictures, rendered in the Warli art done by people belonging to a tribal community that lives in Maharashtra, in western India. It introduces basic verbs to the young reader through a series of brilliantly drawn pictograms, which illustrate the verb and tell a story.

To know more about the book, visit

Source: ▶ Do! – A Book by Tara Books – YouTube
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Date Visited: Sun Nov 23 2014 11:29:18 GMT+0100 (CET)


1. To read more about Tara Books’ collaboration with tribal artists in the Indian press, type “Tara Books tribe” in the search field here >>

Example: “Coming of age: Indian tribal art is making a splash both in this country and abroad, says Aarti Dua” in The Telegraph, Calcutta, Sunday , October 31 , 2010

Gond and Pat artists are even keeping their art contemporary by illustrating for Tara Books. […]

Source: The Telegraph – Calcutta (Kolkata) | Graphiti | Coming of age
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Date Visited: Sun Nov 23 2014 11:58:34 GMT+0100 (CET)

2. Find books by Tara Books in a library near you: >>

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