Gond paintings are a form of painting from folk and tribal art that is practiced by one of the largest tribes in India with whom it shares its name. Gond comes from the Dravidian expression, Kond which means 'the green mountain'. The work of Gond artists is rooted in their folk tales and culture, and thus story-telling is a strong element of every painting. The Gond, are the largest Adivasi Community in India. They are Dravidian and their origin can be traced to the pre-Aryan era.
Traditionally, the Gond paintings were done on mud walls with colours extracted from natural materials like soil, charcoal, cow dung and leaves. The designs are based on the rituals and traditions practiced by the community. Nature is also a dominant theme as Gonds inhabited forests for centuries.
The most interesting facet of Gond painting is the use of bright colours like white, blue, yellow and red. These colours are extracted naturally from plant sap, leaves, coloured soil, charcoal and even cow dung. Gond paintings can best be described as ‘on line work’. The artist makes sure to draw the inner as well as outer lines with as much care as possible so that the perfection of the lines has an immediate effect on the viewer. Lines are used in such a way that it conveys a sense of movement to the still images. Dots and dashes are added to impart a greater sense of movement and increase the amount of detail.
According to the Gond belief system, each and everything whether it is a hill, river, rock or a tree is inhabited by a spirit and, consequently, is sacred. So the Gond people paint them as a form of respect and reverence. Gond paintings are a reflection of man’s close connection with his natural surroundings. However, while a majority of Gond paintings do take inspiration from nature, it isn’t the only source of inspiration. Gond paintings can also take inspiration from myths and legends of India or alternatively, they may also showcase images from the daily lives of the tribe. It can also showcase abstract concepts like emotions, dreams and imagination.