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.