Accepted paper:

Warli Paintings: Tradition and Change


Ashwini Shelke

Paper short abstract:

Warli Painting is an integral part of the wedding ceremony among the Warli Tribe’s located in Northern Maharashtra and Southern Gujarat. This paper attempts to understand the impact of changing religious practices on the art form.

Paper long abstract:

Art among the tribal societies in India is ubiquitous. Its antecedence can be traced right from the Paleolithic age as seen in the cave paintings of Bhimbetka. In the last couple of decades the Tribal Art and Culture has gained immense popularity worldwide, in India too many of the Tribal Art forms have gained immense popularity in the recent times. The Warli Painting is a case in point. This paper studies the Warli Paintings in their traditional form and the changes it has undergone over time. The Warli paintings are traditionally wall paintings which are commonly known as 'chauk', and were painted only by the married women or the 'savasini'. These chauk's were a part of the religious ritual at the wedding ceremony, symbolic of the goddess of fertility. These paintings are a magico-religious phenomenon, which express the faith and belief of the Warli community. The Warli's revere animate and inanimate objects, thus they worship several Nature Gods. However over a period of time, one can see the influence of other religions such as Christianity and Hinduism on the Warli Community, as a result of which several Warli's have undergone conversion. This change in religion is clearly visible in the paintings made during the time of marriage, where the traditional practise of painting the chauk has not been forfeited, but rather is adapted into the fold of Christianity and Hinduism leading to symbolic changes in the paintings. Thereby, changing the process of production and the meaning of the art form.

panel P05
Aesthetics of conversion