Translated by Chhavi Nigam
The Lockdown has prompted people to take on different regimes and try new things. We’ve seen videos of celebrities sharing pictures on social media as they dust their houses and wash their dishes. Some groups of friends threw challenges to each other, while some like me, were busy with webinars, live chats or just gossiping.
“I always wanted to decorate my house, but could never find the time due to my job. The lockdown has given me this spare time. So, I came home with my wife and children and started decorating my house with Warli art.
But a real feat, driven by real passion was accomplished by this teacher living in Pathakvadi village of Tapi district in Gujarat. Pathakvadi village, barely 2 km away from the renowned pilgrimage ‘Unai, is where Tulsidas Patel and his wife Preeti Ben have renovated their house with such intricate Warli designs that one’s eyes could tire just gazing at the beautiful patterns painted with so much work and love. These pictures display their deep passion.
All this work is not the result of some momentary impulse. Tulsidas had vigorously planned for it and the whole village supported him in this endeavour.
He prepared gara or a kind of slush from mixing together paddy husk, barks and leaves, and soil which he rubbed on that walls of his house. After this paste had completely dried, he drew and painted the iconic Warli designs with the help of rust coloured geru, terracotta and white choona, lime. Through this traditional tribal or adivasi art Tulsidas was able to depict issues related to the corona epidemic and corona warriors as well.
Corona Motifs in the Traditional Warli!
It is really difficult to say how old the Warli artform really is! Native fables, the agrarian tribal culture, their rituals and festivals, have all been inscribed in it for ages. Traditionally these designs were considered sacred and were usually made on auspicious occasions like marriages etc. Tulsidas has combined this Hindustani traditional art with the contemporary corona scenario.
Today, people from nearby areas come to Pathakvadi village to look at the results of his passion. A teacher in Surat, Tulsidas says: “I always wanted to decorate my house, but could never find the time due to my job. Lockdown has given me this spare time. So, I came home with my wife and children and started decorating my house with Warli art. He goes on to say “I spent around two months to create this Warli art on my walls, also adding designs related to covid-19. And now people from my village as well as from other villages are coming to see my house!”
It gives me great happiness to share this story.
In the modern world bustling with mobiles, computers and the digital revolution, there still is a teacher and artist who wants to conserve the beautiful art of Warli. Even in these somewhat trying conditions, he has tried to save it.
Salutations Tulsidas! You set an example. What you have displayed, is probably what passion is all about.