Story of Beautiful Indian Folk and Tribal Art

Wearable and Decorative Art and Artists — Historic Bharat to Contemporary India


Savita and her husband Ranjan are attending to shops’ customers, while their younger son studies at the back of shop. Their elder daughter is at home preparing for tomorrow’s Science test. 

For generations, families of Savita and Ranjan have been making paintings by hand, using traditional colours from vegetables and minerals, and now using contemporary acrylic as well. The motifs used in these paintings have become muscle memory for them. Still, each painting is  unique and each has subtle differences from all others.

What is India’s heritage in Art?

Art forms have been evolving in India, from pre-historic rock paintings of Bhimbetaka, sculptures of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, temple architectures of Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta and Mahabalipuram. 

Kalantir | Ramayan Mughal Miniature Painting


Gandharva, Mathura, and Amravati Schools of Architecture influenced famous sculptures and architectures, while Mughal and Kangra School of miniature art, which show battles, portraits, and ragas using full spectrum of colours. 

Mysore and Tanjore school of paintings used gold leaves and wires, woven intricately to depict grace  and beauty of Gods, Goddesses, and religious stories.  Tribal Art forms have depicted deities, nature, history, legends and myths prevalent  in those times, from perspective that are very different from those of living in planned settlements.

 KnowIndia, a Government of India Initiative, details some of these art forms.

Kalantir | Tribal Tiger Madhubani Painting | Tribal Museum Delhi | Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

[Tribal Tiger Madhubani Painting, Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier, Belgium]

Many in India have been wearing art literally “on their sleeves”.

 Historically, beautiful designs weaved in Kanchipuram and Banaras Silk has been the choice of the affluent.

And then subtle patterns and natural shades of Khaadi  have inspired India, with Father of Nation Gandhi Bapu being its most famous ambassador and Prime Minister Modi being the latest one. 

Will India's heritage Art survive?

Inspite of being part of a rich cultural heritage, Artisans in India are finding it difficult to sustain a respectable living from creating and selling Art.  

Mughal painting2

 Bani ThaniNational Museum, Delhi ]

Savita and Ranjan have scarce intention of training their children in their art forms, and instead want them to get a office job after formal education.

Many people today have memories of some art works from their childhood or from their visits of government offices or museums.

 Such people aspire to own some form of art; either to decorate homes, or to gift them, or to wear it on special occasions. 

Owning Original Art is a testament of our Emotional Intelligence, our sense of Aesthetics, and of-course our 😍 for Art. Art forms make conversations easy, evokes pride and laughter, and can often provoke thoughts.

This Artsy Collection is an example of beautiful Indian Art that has evolve over centuries.

A possible way forward?

For small Artists, showcasing their craft and engaging with Art consumer is limited by geography.  Some artists who do have a platform to reach clientele, often don't sell at scale. Most Art lovers rarely know which platform sells original art, how to identify original, and what makes the art so unique. Authentic and Original Art is perceived to be too pricey, or is perceived as not authentic if it is not pricey. Ironically some of these prospective consumers are educated in good colleges and work in offices of recognised organisations, something that Savita and Ranjan dream for their kids.

Efforts at are to make our times aware of our rich heritage, and to connect Artists with Art lovers. Kalantir is an initiative to bring curated collection of various art forms direct from the Artisans who have been obscured in space and time. Artists creating decorative and wearable Art forms across breadth of types and price points would engage with collectors - near and far, each aspiring to own a piece of Art.

- Kalantir Out

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