Monday, March 30, 2009

Now I am also a Warli artist

As a deprived kid (who refuses to grow up) I always splurge on arts-for-kids kit. I have bead-makers, clay kits, moulds, mirror makers, science kits, and anything else you can think of. I simply cannot resist them. I always was artistically inclined (ha, we all think that) and only reason did not become Husain was because I was deprived (ha, we always think that too:)...
Any case while trying to pick up some prosaic notebooks for my daughter I saw this amazing Warli kit.. Resisting it, since these days I am mostly broke (being a yoga teacher) I returned home. But, then, that kit and my deprived childhood colluded together so much so that I was dragged back to that very same stationary shop and had to, simply had to, pick up this Warli kit for kids. I love it: it has clay thingies on which you may paint, but though I still have not laid ink on clay, I bought the kit for the book on how-to Warli yourself.

While a journalist I had wandered, with one of those agents who work these tribals, in Adivasi land and saw those amazing Warli wall pieces (natural paints like mud for that red tint) that the Adivasi women paint on those simple hut walls. Apparently done on some major occasion, like a wedding. But you know how human kind works: these women did it for free and for the love of it, and for being part of the community and all that. But the minute it got itself as commercially paying, the men step in and become cat of the walk:) See how most famous chefs are men? So also, in Warli art most of the painters who do the commerical pieces are men -- they are the one who get to Germany or Europe or wherever else the agent would take them, to showcase tribal Indian art.

Any case, it was fabulous to wander about in Adivasi country, huts far from one another. Where, in that rolling green -- hillocks and soft valleys and an occasional sliver of a sparkling waterfall -- that makes rural Maharashtra so beautiful and heart-stopping, you are lulled into sushegaad ( a state of mental siesta:) by the sight of lazy dragonflies floating over rich, tall grass. And in that seeming emptiness be surprised by a lone hut, and even more happily surprised by its hidden flare-up of this rich art. Glorious. It was what made journalism so fulfilling for me, those days:)

Any case somebody who liked that article of mine gifted me a huge Warli painting -- It had amazing scenes -- a woman being dragged by her man, by her hair!! Physical encounters.. Stuff like that you normally don't see in the clinically cleaned up Warli art available all over... it was a piece that told real stories. Apparently, real Warli art has these double entendre too... stories of money lenders, land-grabbers (from a rich, shrinking community in Mumbai) who would bribe these simple men with a bottle or two of alcohol.. Where such a conniving man may be shown as a rat etc.. That sort of real stories. But that painting of mine, which was layered in that special way, got burnt in the terrible fire in my house. My loving husband, sweet of him, later replaced that with another huge Warli piece. It adorns my hall wall -- but it is a tame one, compared to the riotous and rambunctious one I had...

Any case if you wish to gift a kid a nice kit, then this Wah Re Wah Warli is a good bet I would think -- I paid Rs 349 for my piece. There is a smaller one on offer for Rs 225...
Check out this link for what else the kit contains etc... It is marketed by Pegasus international I have this number on my kit, in case u wish to place an order: 326651661..


Happy painting...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

your blog facinates me.i have been here for so long yet knew nothing so intensely about mumbai.i am a housewife who needs to think twice before spending 50 bucks because although my husband belongs to a generation appreciating women for their achievement at home many things are still the same.steping out seems to invove money ______ 1 or more.nice,women like you are living it all by your way.

Shameem Akthar said...

thanks for this nice note. Yes, I understand how u feel. But freedom had always been breath for me, and money gives me that. I can burn up money just to show that I have no care for that too! Mad:)
But one thing I have realised is that if money needs to be made, u can always make it... it is whether we choose to or not... I like to think that because it hurts me to think so many women feel trapped by not being in a position to spend without discussing it with their husbands. So I like to think it is a choice they make, and they like it... not something they suffer...
So, maybe one day, when I am grown up that way, I would ask my husband too, for things:) It would be nice. Perhaps...

Anonymous said...

you have touched the right cord.we don't suffer we like it that way.thanks i think i need to revisit my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I don't think all women like it. I was a bank employee before marriage. I had to resign the same, since they did not want a working woman. On the very first day itself, my husband said, he married me because his parents wanted someone to do all the household work. I was told not to come out of the kitchen, on the very second day itself. They had no servants. Everything i had to do. I had no freedom. I was not allowed to even sit near cupboard. My husband never spoke nicely to me. All of them went on finding fault with me, irrespective of me doing all the work, tryig to be friendly with them, etc. Even before going to take bath, i had to ask them which colour towel should i take today. One day, they all deliberately ignored me, so i went to take bath, without towel. After i came out of my bath, my husband started shouting at me, for that and made me sit in a corner, as punishment. Whatever saree they told me wear i wore, even though they were mine, bought before my marriage. From morning 5 am till 12 pm, i worked, without any appreciation, only punishments, blames, etc. I tolerated everything because i had no supporting parents. Relatives are the type who will kick you if you suffer. I was not lucky to have good friends too. I bore everything silently. But, inspite of all this, i got only bad name.