• Malvika Sinha

Warli Painting

Warli Painting is one of the oldest tribal folk art originated from Maharashtra, in western India.

The Warlis are famous for their wall-paintings. They also know bamboo-work and prepare different items of basketry for their own use. They dance and sing during festivals, marriage and other occasions of festivities like Holi etc. The ritual paintings are usually created on the inside walls of village huts. Thus, traditionally this painting is done on a brown background which is basically mud and drawn with white color that’s a mixture of rice, water and gum.


The geometric patterns of everyday rituals are well depicted by this art form. The main scenes portrays hunting, fishing, farming, trees and animals. Festivals and dances are common scenes depicted in warli painting. The shapes used are mainly, square and triangle which represents elements of nature.


People and animals are represented by two inverse triangles joined at their tips. Their precarious equilibrium symbolizes the balance of the universe. The representation also has the practical and amusing advantage of animating the bodies. One of the central aspects depicted in many Warli paintings is the tarpa dance. The tarpa, a trumpet-like instrument, is played in turns by different village men. Men and women entwine their hands and move in a circle around the tarpa player. The dancers then follow him, turning and moving as he turns, never turning their backs to the tarpa.


The musician plays two different notes, which direct the head dancer to either move clockwise or counterclockwise. The tarpa player assumes a role similar to that of a snake charmer, and the dancers become the figurative snake. The dancers take a long turn in the audience and try to encircle them for entertainment.The circle formation of the dancers is also said to resemble the circle of life.


This art form is very famous nowadays with home decor articles. Warli motifs are

used all around and customized to canvas, fabrics, walls, bottles, jars etc.


I have always inclined towards the art forms which convey some stories, messages

and with a great depth. So, this time I have made the contemporary version for this

and made it in black and white.

Warli Painting - 1
Warli Painting - 1
Warli Painting - 2
Warli Painting - 2
Warli Painting - 3
Warli Painting - 3
Warli Painting - 4
Warli Painting - 4

Note : I have used 0.1, 0.3 and 0.5 mm black pens on 160gsm A4 size white paper to create these Warli paintings.


Hope you have learned some interesting things about Warli paining today. Keep checking out this space for upcoming art work. Thank You !

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