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 1980’s 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.
Waterfowl and Snake
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".
© Jangarh Singh Shyam
Shown in 2 exhibitions
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 01 Apr 1993–09 May 1993
- Wollongong Art Gallery, Wollongong 15 May 1993–12 Jun 1993
- Orange Regional Gallery, Orange 25 Jun 1993–31 Jul 1993
- Canberra School of Art Gallery, Canberra 05 Aug 1993–04 Sep 1993
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 17 Sep 1993–24 Oct 1993
Indian Folk Paintings and Textiles, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 May 2004–04 Jul 2004
Referenced in 4 publications
Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, 'Indian history through art', pg. 91, Sydney, 28 May 2004, 91 (illus.).
India Songs: multiple streams in contemporary Indian art, Sydney, 1993, 40, 41(colour illus.), 54. cat no. 42
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Contemporary Painting in Urban and Village India', Sydney, 2003, 56 (colour illus.).
Inspirations - Art ideas for primary and middle years, Carlton South, 2004, cover (colour illus.) , 3 (colour illus.). card 3