The Jangarh Idiom

The Jangarh Idiom

Jangarh Singh Shyam was one of the most accomplished and individualistic Pardhan Gond artists who, is responsible for the popularisation of the so-called “Gond School of Painting”.

Dr. Jyotindra Jain

Jangarh Singh Shyam was one of the most accomplished and individualistic Pardhan Gond artists who, with his tribal cultural background, entered the contemporary space of art while working at Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal, where he was introduced to poster and acrylic colours, paper, canvas and printmaking. It was also here, for the first time, that he pictorially narrativised his inherited legends rooted in mysterious forests and fantastic birds, beasts and reptiles on canvasses, raising issues of nostalgia, autochthony, memory and belonging – “a place from where to speak”. Pardhan Gonds did not have any elaborate tradition of painting, except for the women’s rudimentary painted clay-relief work. The entire explosion of the so-called “Gond School of Painting” originated from Jangarh. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to label it not Gond, but the Jangarh idiom.

As Jangarh acquired universal fame and influence in the sphere of Indian tribal art, a horde of Gond boys began to emulate him, but none could match his talent. At the peak of his artistic career, Jangarh committed suicide in Japan on July 3, 2001, where he was engaged in finishing a commission. He had entered the very contentious field of the global marketplace of art, the pressures of which he had not learnt to cope with.

Never Miss a MAP Event Subscribe to our Newsletter

From Process to Thought

“It is of interest to see that the imagery of “a god who eats up lacquer and melts/ who wilts when he sees fire,” Basavanna — devotee of Shiva — has taken from the world of the makers of bronze icons that we know from the Chola period.”

Prof. BN Goswamy

Features, Essays, Blog posts and more from MAP

Explore the world of art and photography at MAP
From Process to Thought

From Process to Thought

“It is of interest to see that the imagery of “a god who eats up lacquer and melts/ who wilts when he sees fire,” Basavanna — devotee of Shiva — has taken from the world of the makers of bronze icons that we know from the Chola period.”

Prof. BN Goswamy