Gond Art & Writing Poems for Artists

‘Herd of Cows’ by Gond artist, Rajendra Kumar Shyam

Are you familiar with Gond Art? If you’re not, you’re in for a treat. Even if you are not especially interested in art, I can’t believe you won’t find this work irresistibly charming and want to see more – and you will in a moment.

 This is the first of what I am going to call my ‘scrapbook’ posts, where I share some writing related thoughts with you over the next few posts,. Then it will be time for some more of my Repair Kit posts that I promised I would return to.

Incidentally, I kept a pile of fiction writing scrapbooks once. I pasted in newspaper articles about the life, craft and forthcoming books of famous authors. Perhaps I absorbed something useful from them, I don’t know, but I loved re-reading them. Now I have poetry scrapbooks on paper and on my computer. Useful? I hope so. Pleasurable? Absolutely. And I love re-reading these even more.

My poetry scrap books
My poetry scrap books

Poetry for Artists:

Some of you may know that I have been writing poems for artists over the last few years, first for Patti Lean (pattie@pattielean.co.uk),  an abstract artist, who has recently been exploring how sound and physical movement in a landscape might be expressed in her work, as well as producing work relating to the Isle of Tiree. Almost two years later I completed a series of poems for Alison MacLeod (www.alisonmacleod.com) whose work is based on unusual combinations of objects which she transforms into jewellery. I am now working with Lisa Hooper (www.hoopoeprints.co.uk), whose inspiration lies in birds and landscapes and whose preferred method is printmaking. I have learned so much about art and poetry during this process and made lasting friendships. I’ve been fortunate in  that some of my artists’ poems have been published in books, one has appeared on a blog and  another as part of a digital installation.  Writing about art in this way is called “ekphrastic poetry” (of Greek origin, to mean poetry inspired by visual art), though I didn’t know this when I first began creating it.

Creative Writing and Art:

This morning I discovered an interesting book on Amazon called ‘Third Mind: Creative Writing Through Visual Art’ by Tonya Foster. I get to read some of the opening pages and if I want to buy it to read and review I can choose between 4 new books from £244.62 or 7 used from £105.84. Why? I am hoping it will appear on Kindle and then these ridiculous prices will be forced down.

Art on Pinterest:

Writing for artists has led me to explore art and illustration on my Pinterest boards and I can’t tell you how excited I have got over the variety of work I have found there and what I have learned. (If you have a moment, find me on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/tartansanta/ and see for yourself.)

Gond Art:

by Gond artist, Prasad Khusram  - via the Must Gallery in New Delhi
by Gond artist, Prasad Khusram – via the Must Gallery in New Delhi

One of my favourite Pinterest boards is the one showcasing Gond art, not only because I grew up in India and I’m interested in all things Indian but for its wonderful colour and vitality. The Gonds are one of the largest tribal communities of Central India. Their folk art stems from a belief that seeing a beautiful image brings on good fortune and is why they decorate their homes with a range of traditional motifs. More recently these have been transposed to paper and canvas and sold in galleries where profits are used to fund health and education projects for these and other tribal communities, whose traditional way of life is now threatened.  

I received a message on my blog from one of these galleries. http://folkpaintingsindia.com who had

Gond artist, Dwarka Parasate via Folk Paintings of India Gallery
Gond artist, Dwarka Parasate via Folk Paintings of India Gallery

noticed my extensive Pinterest collection and over a number of emails, I was able to ask questions and learn more. Why not visit some of these sites to see more examples of Gond art? You will also find Bhil art there too, another folk art form that has characteristics in common with Gond Art. (And no, I am not promoting Gond art here for any reason other than I love the work and want to keep it alive.)

Here is a link to a recent article in the Hindu newspaper which shows the plight of the ‘tribals’ in india. I am told “if they were marginalized before, they are becoming even more so today as the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ widens.”

by Gond artist, Subhash Vyam
‘Peacocks’ by Gond artist, Subhash Vyam


I hope you love this art as much as I do and that you tell more people about it. That you might write about it. Perhaps you might even buy some.

2 thoughts on “Gond Art & Writing Poems for Artists

  1. Fascinating post, Lesley.

    Liked by 1 person

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