Although a famous Gond artist’s daughter, this artist has a unique style, indicating that no two creative minds are the same.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Gond art is the love for nature that oozes out of each creation. Though there are many individuals belonging to the Gond tribal community who paint nature and its beauty, what makes each artist unique is the imagination with which the subjects are depicted on the canvas.
The colours of the community have recently made their way to the capital in the form of an exhibition called ‘Tribal Traditions’, which is being organised at the Delhi’s Gallerie Ganesha. The collection displays the works of Japani Shyam, who is the daughter of famous Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam.
Japani's work includes a plethora of paintings done using acrylic on paper, incorporation dark and subtle shades that make her work appear clean and provide a sense of the quietude that one tends to associate with nature.
In a chat with Japani, she reveals that her father was a huge influence on her artistic career. But being the child of a legendary artist has a fair share of challenges. She says, “It was a great challenge for me because he had a huge name in the field, and I needed to do something different to make a name for myself.” She had to put in a great amount of hard work to get to where she is now.
Therefore, Japani’s style of painting is different to her father’s. While Jangarh Singh had a more complex sketching technique, she draws straighter lines. She uses dark strokes, which make her feel “Good from the inside. There were times when I wished my father was around and a lot of times negative thoughts used to creep inside; I wasn’t able to understand anything.” She then adds, “But when I used dark and light colours together, it brought the darkness to light.”
On the theme front, the use of trees as an element is quite commonly seen in these paintings. She further explains, “In these paintings, trees have been given the place of god and a mother. These practices are also a part of our culture and. throughout our lives, we have seen that trees play a very significant role in our lives.”
It is one thing imagining something and it is another thing putting the imagination on paper. On being asked about whether these paintings shaped up according to her imagination or not, she responds, “Sometimes there is satisfaction, sometimes there isn’t. There are times when I am thinking about something and I am not able to make it and, sometimes, the output comes out to be more than I expected. In short, I am satisfied with these paintings.”
There is an underlying message that exists in these paintings, which she reveals — “I want to give the message that our nature is pretty amazing and people must think about it. I want to tell people more about our cultures and traditions.”