The word Gond comes from the Dravidian expression kond , meaning green mountain. The Gonds were the ruling class in many parts of Central India in the14th century. Gond rajas, or kings, ruled until they were conquered by Muslim armies and were forced to flee into the thick jungles.
In the Gond belief system, besides Bara Deo (Great God), every hill, river, lake, tree, and rock is inhabited by a spirit and therefore sacred. Like most tribals, the Gonds are artistically gifted: they paint their house walls with artistic designs. Both male and female family members participate in painting. Gond paintings are done on village mud walls use colors derived from charcoal, colored soil, plant sap, leaves, and cow dung and can last up to 20 years. These paintings are found in the inner and outer walls of the houses , windows and niches . Gond paintings reflect man’s relationship with Nature. In Gond art, horses, stags, tigers, birds, gods and people are painted in several bright colours and filled with dots, lines or other geometrical patterns to give a texture. This style of painting has been called by various names: Jangarh Kalam, Pardhaan painting, Gond painting, etc.
Gond paintings are fascinating, where the artists express their faiths and beliefs , world view , their visual expression and sense of identity , both as a collective , and as individuals . Gond paintings are based basically on line work . The artists draw the inner and outer lines with utmost care that are so striking in their precision and perfection . The imaginative use of the line imparts a sense of movement of still images . The colors are mainly black and white , red , blue and yellow.
The motifs are further associated with the rich repertoire of the community and strongly show the interactions with the cosmic , natural and social worlds of humans at multiple levels and contexts . Local deities , cock fights , forest scenes , agriculure, marriages and other rituals find a place in these paintings. Gond artists paint their lives vividly, drawing from their heritage which gives them a rich canvas.
Deep red – derived from Al tree
Yellow – from Chui mitti (Local Sand)
Brown – from Gheru mitti (Another type of Sand)
Green – from leaves, and
Red – from Hibiscus flower
Originally, natural colors were used for painting. Nowadays because of non-availability of natural colors and the easy availability of alternative colors, the
artists have began to utilize poster colors in their work. Black and white colors were not generally used, but now they are also being used.
The Gond art rendezvous with the belief that “viewing a good image begets good luck”. This inherent belief led the Gonds to decorating their houses and the floors with traditional tattoos and motifs.The Gond paintings also bear a resemblance to Australian aboriginal art.