Gond - Untitled 161

by Rajendra Kumar Shyam
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Size: 20 x 28 inches
Medium: Pen, Ink and Acrylic on Paper
Year: 2023
  • ABOUT Rajendra Kumar Shyam

    Rajendra Kumar Shyam is a Gond artist from Madhya Pradesh, India, whose canvasses are filled with perfectly symmetric, dense compositions which narrate elaborate stories from Gond culture and depict scenes from rural life. As a child, Rajendra was fascinated by murals and would actively participate in dabbing the walls of his home with cow dung, decorating them with floral patterns and designs alongside his mother and sisters.

    Rajendra lost his elder brother when he was still studying, and had to drop out of school as he had to fend for the family and start working. Every once in a while, going deep into the forests to fetch fuel wood, Rajendra and his companions would spend the night with people from other villages, around a fire, listening to stories narrated by an elderly man in the group. Today, these enchanting stories take visual form in Rajendra’s vibrant and evocative artworks.

    After getting married, Rajendra Kumar Shyam worked for his uncle and acclaimed Gond artist, Jangarh Singh Shyam, in Bhopal. Following this, he worked many jobs as a labourer at the Indira Gandhi National Human Museum, Bhopal. But he was still passionate about art, and would paint in the evenings, after work. Rajendra was encouraged by contemporary artist Shampa Shah to pursue art as a career, and he took up painting as his full-time profession in 2007.

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  • ABOUT Gond Art

    Among the largest tribes in India, the Gonds have a recorded history that goes back 1400 years. The Gonds are present in significant numbers in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, and their art is loved by connoisseurs of culture.

    The Gonds believe that a good image brings good luck, and it is this belief that can be found at the root of Gond art. Concerned with warding off evil and ushering in good luck, they decorate their houses with traditional tattoos and motifs.

    For the Gond, everything is intimately connected to nature, and Gond paintings feature motifs that depict their beliefs and rituals, life in the village, and man’s remarkable relationship with nature. Renowned for their vibrant colours and imaginative use of lines and dots, Gond artworks today are made using natural colours sourced from soil, plants, charcoal and cow dung, as well as acrylic paints.

    Jangarh Singh Shyam was India’s most noted Gond artist, who passed away in 2001. Several members of his family are renowned Gond artists, including his wife, Nankusia Shyam, children Mayank Shyam and Japani Shyam, brother in law Subhash Vyam and his wife, Durga Bai.

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