Photos & Text: Juggernaut Books

The images presented here are the drawings and paintings done in the Gond style by artist Venkat Raman Singh Shyam, reproduced from Finding My Way, a recently-published art book on the life and work of Venkat. Tribal art of India is still treated as a craft and not as an art per say, and paintings like Venkat’s are a sharp rebuke to the contemporary world’s neglect of tribal art.

Venkat’s art talks to both the tribal context it originates in and also the spires of ​ Gaudi’s extravagance in Sagrada Familia, for instance. His life too has travelled such distances. Twenty years ago, Venkat had to pull a rickshaw in Delhi in order to eke out a living. Today, he draws one to tell his life’s story in Finding​ My Way. Through his journey he sings Kabir’s songs, as he winds his way back into his past, creating in the process a beautiful present.

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