It is her use of bright colour and the fable-like quality she renders to her painting that distinguish her individual style, a deviation from the religious and conventional to create a childlike and fanciful animal, plant and human world. While she sees her world as a Pradhan Gond, brought up in an environment and tradition of rich folk artistry, she interprets its reality in a contemporary aesthetic. Her themes reinforce life and optimism. The deer in bright blue and vermillion have friendly eyes and endearing expressions while the bulls and cows in purple and yellow almost wear smiles on their snouts. Birds perch happily on their horns or pull at their udder, while the horns blend upwards into branches, a picture of symbiotic harmony and interdependence between the animal and plant world. The pointillist dots and fine dashes, a technique in Gond paintings that is typically done using a rotaring pen and black ink by other Gond artists, have a cheerful interpretation in Durgabai’s work. “My husband likes to use the rotaring pen and black ink for the stippling in his paintings but I prefer vibrant colour and use only paint and a fine brush for the dots and dashes in my paintings”.
This artwork description has been sourced from “The Gond Artist Durgabai” on Sunita Nair‘s website.
Durgabai (born in 1972) is a first-generation Gond artist. She would enjoy the story-telling performances in her village Barbaspur (near Patan in Madhya Pradesh) that accompanied the art of bhitti chitra, wall painting in mud houses, and decided to start creating her own paintings. The kahani parampara or story-telling tradition in her village features characters from the purani kahani such as jungle janvar, nana-nani, devi-devta, drawn from village life and the surrounding jungle.
This artist bio has been sourced from “The Gond Artist Durgabai” on Sunita Nair’s website .