Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Contemporary art

Asian art

View More:


Tithee bird



Jangarh Singh Shyam


1961 - 2001


The original inhabitants of India are most correctly described by the umbrella term Adivasi. Under this term a large number of communities exist with different social, religious and artistic practises. Jangarh Singh Shyam was born into the community of Gond people who are one of the largest indigenous groups in India.

As a response to drought and wide spread changed living conditions during the 1980s the Bharat Bhavan arts centre located in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh encouraged local and international curators and artists to visit Adivasi communities as a way of promoting their cultural practises.This acted as a catalyst for many Adivasi painters who found new subjects and mediums for painting. Raised within a family of bards, Jangarh Singh Shyam’s talent as an artist was 'discovered' by the renowned Indian modernist painter J Swaminath. As a young man he made the transition from village life to work in Bhopal and went on to feature in major international exhibitions.

In the village environment Gond paintings were painted directly onto walls to illustrate folk lore and celebrate important social events. On the international scene, Jangarh Singh Shyam was able to translate the songs and stories of his people into exquisitely rendered paintings on paper. 'Tithee bird' is typical of his prodigious style. Vibrant, colourful, dynamic and expressive, his work gives life and vision to a world of myriad myths animated by the animals, birds, mountains and deities of his village home.


Other Title

Waterfowl and Snake



Media category


Materials used

poster colour on paper


55.8 x 70.9 cm

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., pencil " [not translated, Devanagari script, language Hindi] 1991".


Purchased 1993


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Jangarh Singh Shyam

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, 'Indian history through art', pg. 91, Sydney, 28 May 2004, 91 (illus.).

Victoria Lynn, India Songs: multiple streams in contemporary Indian art, Sydney, 1993, 40, 41(colour illus.), 54. cat no. 42

Ann Macarthur, Inspirations - Art ideas for primary and middle years, Carlton South, 2004, cover (colour illus.) , 3 (colour illus.). card 3

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Contemporary Painting in Urban and Village India', Sydney, 2003, 56 (colour illus.).