A vow to revive a dying art form
Warli painting is a tribal art form mostly done by tribal women in state of Maharastra located in the western part of India. While there are no records of the exact origins of this art form, its roots may be traced to as early as the 10th century A.D. Warli painting closely resembles cave paintings. They have often been spotted on the inside of ochre walls of huts that are built using a mixture of tree branches, mud and cow dung.
I happened to view these fascinating paintings in an art gallery in New Delhi, where I moved after my marriage. On inquiring about them, I was informed that there are not many artists left to practice this art form and that it was slowly vanishing. Amazed by these beautiful paintings, I vowed to revive this art form and started practicing painting on small objects in my home during my spare time. Slowly, but steadily, my paintings on various terra cotta products improved.
I tried selling them to art galleries and shops in New Delhi and other towns in India. To my disbelief, I received large orders, but was unable to fulfill them on time because I had no other employees to help me paint. This is when the idea to train young girl and women living in the slums surrounding New Delhi came to mind. I visited few of these slums near my home and was able to convince girls and women to come to my home to learn to paint and at the same time to become financially independent, but also gain freedom and dignity. To much of my surprise, I was on the threshold of becoming a successful female entrepreneur and at the same time, providing life-long earning skills to many women. Presently, we employ 100 women who are managed and trained by me. They are inspired to revive the trial painting art from all over India and to participate in teaching this skill to other girls and women to improve their livelihoods.
My efforts and hard work garnered coverage in several state and national newspapers, but the best accolade arrived when I received in 2011 the National Award by the President of India on behalf of the Commissioner of Handicrafts, Government Of India.
To learn more, visit http://aakritiartsonline.com