Gond artists Jangarh Singh Shyam & Roshni Vyam: “Universal appeal and technical prowess” – Madhya Pradesh

A masterly tribute to a cult Gond artist

Openthemagazine.com, Books, 09 March 2018 | Read the full review by Preema John >>

Jangarh Singh Shyam: The Enchanted Forest Paintings and Drawings from the Crites Collection | Aurogeeta Das

The first publication of its kind, this book examines Jangarh’s life and works from an academic and historical point of view. It focuses largely but not only on the Crites Collection of Jangarh’s work, collected by Mitchell and Niloufer from the artist directly between 1983 and 2001. The Crites Collection forms the largest body of Jangarh’s work and traces his artistic development from its very early stages when he first showed his work at the Surajkund mela in Delhi. […]

In a small village in Madhya Pradesh in the early 1960s, Jangarh was born into a family of Pardhans who were customarily storytellers of the Gond community. There is still speculation about the exact year and date of his birth. Growing up, he was a skilled musician and flutist; it was only later in life that he became a pioneering visual artist depicting different aspects of village life, beliefs and worship using various mediums, creating almost a pantheon of Gond visual idioms that had never been depicted this way before.

The Enchanted Forest unpacks critical issues in art history that form a basis for understanding Jangarh’s work, central among them being a debate on the classification and reception of tribal art versus contemporary art. Das argues that while these definitions need to be examined critically, Jangarh’s work ‘transcends these binaries’ given their universal appeal and technical prowess. […]

The book also explores the impact and development of the relationship between the artist and his patrons.

Source: https://www.openthemagaziene.com/article/books/enchanted-canvas
Accessed: 13 February 2021

Photo © The Hindu >>

SHAILAJA TRIPATHI, The Hindu, Bengaluru, May 12, 2016 |To view more photos and read the full article here >>

Roshni Vyam, one of the finest contemporary Gond artists of her generation tells SHAILAJA TRIPATHI that while her family was her biggest inspiration, the textile designing course in NIFT Bengaluru widened her horizon

When she was five years old, Roshni Vyam would tell her uncle, Jangarh Singh Shyam, that one day she would paint canvases as big as the ones he did. […]

Last year, the 22-year-old was chosen with Bhajju Shyam, Venkat Raman Singh Shyam as the winners of the Ojas Art Award. The award has been constituted by Ojas Art Gallery and Teamwork Arts of Jaipur Literature Festival.

Digging into her first meal of the day at the café in National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru, where she is studying textile design, Roshni says she is trying to find a balance between her practice as a professional Gond artist and her studies. Frequent travels to Delhi where she is interning with fashion designer Nitin Bal Chauhan as part of her course can’t be a deterrent for someone who is deeply committed to the tribal art form of Gond originating in Madhya Pradesh.

She grew up in Sunpuri, a village in Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh, which is supposed to be the hub for Gond art.

Inspired by her family, neighbours and relatives practise it day in an out, Roshni took to the art form when she was five.

Her parents, Durga (Jangarh’s sister) and Subhash Vyam, who are also well-known Gond artists motivated her wholeheartedly.  […]

“Traditional gond art was essentially geometric in nature called dhigna but with time artists started to take inspiration from their surroundings. My mom does mahura style which is jewellery-inspired. I wanted to a fresh take on dhigna but on huge canvases,” says the young artist who is at present in Chennai conducting workshops in Dakshinachitra.

It was in Bhopal that the young mind started to understand the increasing significance of the indigenous visual traditions pushed by cultural institutions like Bharat Bhavan there. Travelling with her parents and seeing Jangarh’s rise in the world of art, Roshni had decided to pursue it full-throttle. “People advised me against joining an art school saying that in the name of ‘contemporarising’, I would end up ruining it. I joined NIFT to add value to my practice. I was so inspired by Nitin Bal Chauhan because he is an artist and fashion designer,” says Roshni.

But still the fear of losing a promising talent to the world of fashion remains. She with Mayank and Japani Shyam — Jangarh’s children — are amongst the most seminal contemporary gond artists of today. “No, I would never ever leave Gond. I am about to pass out and I didn’t take any job placement. I want to do my independent work.”

What has NIFT done for her? Her name was already in circulation. The galleries were already exhibiting her works which command prices between Rs.10,000 to Rs. 2.5 lakh. “NIFT was hectic and I kept participating in exhibitions even after joining the course. But it opened new vistas for me. I studied art forms of the world. I studied about textiles and these four years I have spent exploring the possibilities between various textiles and Gond.” […]

Nobody even knew what Gond is.”

Roshni wants to set up a gallery or a platform which will genuinely promote gond artists. “Now I am here and can see what’s happening around, I want to protect my fellow gond artists. I know how dealers go to our villages, buy it from the artists at such cheap prices and sell it at expensive prices.

What do these artists get? They are so naïve. I remember how my style was copied from the book “Bhimayana” because I had not got it copyrighted. […]

Source: Roshni Vyam on Gond art – The Hindu
Address: https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/roshni-vyam-on-gond-art/article8590227.ece
Accessed: 13 February 2021

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Learn more


Childhood and children

Crafts and visual arts

Dress and ornaments



Madhya Pradesh


Tribal culture worldwide

Revival of traditions

Tribal elders

Worship and rituals