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India is a vast and interesting culture filled with amazing color, landscapes, architecture and exotic customs. We looked at an overview and zeroed in on the folk art of the Gond tribal community, which is one of central India's largest indigenous communities. Their art is an expression of their everyday quest for life and their history dates nearly 1400 years. There are cave paintings in the region, as well, that date back to the Mesolithic Period.

Gond paintings reflect 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 language of the soul is expressed in the brilliant hues of Gondi art. The paints are usually derived naturally from sand, charcoal, colored soil, plant sap, leaves and flowers. According to the Gond belief system, each and everything whether it is a hill, river, rock or a tree is inhabited by a spirit and, consequently, is sacred. So the Gond people paint them as a form of respect and reverence, similar to other native and Aboriginal cultures we looked at this year. Gond paintings are a reflection of their close connection with the natural surroundings.

The children did wonderful pieces inspired by elephants, birds, trees and the designs of Gond art. In addition we did some block printing similar to the way fabrics are done in India. You may have noticed they also particularly enjoyed the custom of Henna designs and practiced on each other.

 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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