The whims and moods of tribal life make for interesting themes, which is why Warli Paintings are much more than designs on walls, they are authentic depictions of a way of life.
The Warlis inhabit hamlets of thatched mud-huts, which are constructed in such a way so that they all surround a central cell. They are primarily an agriculture-dependant tribe. Historians say that the Warli tradition can be traced to the Neolithic period between 2,500 BC and 3,000 BC.During the harvest season, and weddings and births, their houses are adorned with a vocabulary of patterns. This custom gave rise to what we now know as the Warli Painting.
The rhythm of Warli Paintings
The lazy mundane life of a village interrupted only by the chirping of birds. Cold nights around bonfires with merry making men and women, the gurgle of streams that flow by the Warli hamlets, a shepherd playing a native instrument….This is the rhythm of the Warli way of life and its beautifully captured in simple unpretentious images in white.
The medium and style of Warli Paintings
Warli Paintings are characterized by the minimalistic style employed to say the profoundest things. The use of color is restricted to a stark white against earthen backgrounds. Geometric designs dominate most paintings; dots and crooked lines are the units of these compositions. The appeal of these unicolor compositions lies in their lack of pretentiousness in conveying the profound.
Symbolism in Warli Paintings
Spiral formations of men and women and concentric circular designs in Warli Paintings are symbolic of the circle of life, in fact most of these seemingly simple paintings abound in symbolism. The harmony and balance depicted in these paintings is supposed to signify the harmony and balance of the universe.
Unlike other tribal art forms the Warli Paintings do not employ religious iconography, making it a more secular art form.