Pradeep Marawi belongs to the Gond community and is a practising Gondi artist from Bhopal.
He and his wife spent a fortnight at the Adivasi Academy to do Gondi painting at the Bhasha Van (Forest of Languages) being created at the Adivasi Academy. Bhasha Van is essentially a pathway of trees at the Academy’s campus at Tejgadh, with each tree named after a language and fixed with voice recorders that will convey the language and songs and stories from various languages.
We are also inviting artists from various communities to colour the huts in the Bhasha Van with their traditional paintings. Pradeepji’s canvas of five panels adds a new dimension to the connections between art, nature, life and language.
The first panel, he says, shows the birth of the child and her/his first cry, announcing her/his coming into the world. Thereafter, most children first learn to say ‘mother’, symbolically also shown as the tree. The child then learns to communicate with the wider world. During youth, the child attains maturity in perception and expression which experience gets consolidated during the old age which is again depicted though five branches/trees for the varying stages of life.
Two video clips were taken during a workshop held at the Adivasi Academy involving Gondi and Warli artists. They showcase the interaction between the faculty at the Adivasi Academy and the artists and their attempt to capture the cultural practices and worldview of these communities through their art.
Both artists convey through their art, their struggle to conserve their tradition in a changing economy and life situation. As Pradeepji says towards the end of the clip, let art reflect the changes in life and society but the ‘thought’ behind the art should not undergo a change, if it has to survive and continue.
Source: message by Sonal Baxi, Bhasha Research and Publication Centre (Vadodara, Gujarat), 12-1-2013 – www.bhasharesearch.org