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How About Some Warli Art to Spruce up Your Decor?

31 October, 2020


There is nothing better than art to relieve anxiety and gain satisfaction, especially when you cannot step out as often as before. It helps when this art is easy, doesn’t require any special skill or training, and can be done any material. The best part of it all is that whatever you do, can help spruce up your decor without much cost and effort. Considering that we have the most festive time of India approaching, perhaps, there is no better time to get going with it then.

You might already have seen this eye-catching art done on public walls, handbags and purses, fabric, canvases, bottles, and more. They are striking and yet simple and convey some closeness with the elements of nature. We are talking about Warli art, which is indigenous to the Warli tribe of the North Sahyadri range of Maharashtra. It is a tribal art which this tribe used to practice and is a trendy folk style painting nowadays. 

The origin of Warli art

This tribal art is said to date back to 10th century AD, though it was only in the 1970s that it started becoming popular. In a sense, it gained a mainstream identity because of the work of Thane based artist Jivya Soma Mashe, who was also awarded the Padmashree for his efforts. Warli is one of the largest tribe in India and have survived for so long, and managed to hold on to their traditions and culture. Not much of the modern lifestyle has invaded them, and their source of livelihood is farming. 

They used to paint their huts made of wood and mud with this art using geometric shapes like circle, triangles, squares, etc. This art celebrates Mother Nature, and each shape denotes some element. The circles denote the sun and the moon, triangles the treetops and mountains and so on. They used to paint using white pigment made from rice flour and water along with a binder, using bamboo sticks with modified ends for brushes. 

Today, Warli art is seen almost everywhere; you could paint them on canvases, cardboard, bottles, walls and more. Warli is also seen depicted on saris to dresses, and items like coasters, table cloths, sofa backs, curtains, and personalized gift items as well. Modern paint has replaced the rice flour pigment, and one can use any surface to get going.

The basic elements

In this art, you see simple figures of male, female, children, and animals, and the elements of figures using the various figures. Scenes of hunting, fishing, farming and festivals, weddings, etc., part of their daily life, are commonly seen in their paintings. Two inverse triangles represent humans or animals, with the middle point representing the universal equilibrium. Simple techniques like a wider triangle on top representing a man and vice versa, representing women indicate their ingenuity. A lot of their Tarpa dance form is also seen in these paintings; Tarpa is a tribal trumpet-like instrument played on occasions for music and dance. 

Easy ideas

If you have some delivery box cardboards, tissues, empty bottles, etc. and some paint in the house, you could get going with your first Warli art. The bottles need to be cleaned thoroughly, and you could use acrylic paints to get some simple yet attractive bottle decor for your living room. Here are some ideas that you can look up for some inspiration, but you could always innovate and do your own.

If you want to upcycle some of those delivery box cardboards and end with some stunning wall decor, you could try that too. All you need are some tissues, glue and paint, alongside. Here are some splendid ideas to get you going. If none of those is available, you could even use newspaper to create Warli art! Check out how and spruce up your decor or gift them away during the festive season. You could search on YouTube for various other materials like canvases, fabric, walls and more for enlarging your Warli art canvas. 

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