Origins of Art : The Gond Village of Patangarh – Kodai Matsuoka, Bhajjy Shyam
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The rich tradition of art from the Pardhan Gond community of central India is now internationally acclaimed. But what is not as well known is the fact that it is a surprisingly young form, practised in this manner for not more than 35 years. So how did it evolve?
The village of Patangarh, in the Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh, is central to the story. All the best known artists – including the brilliant Bhajju Shyam – happen to come from there. Many of them have since moved to the city of Bhopal, but the village – and the forest surrounding it – is still central to their art and imagination. How are we to understand this relationship? How did the culture, craft and everyday life of people in this rural area give rise to such sophisticated art?
To explore these connections, artist Bhajju Shyam accompanies Japanese photographer Kodai Matsuoka on a visit to Patangarh. The book weaves together their conversation in the form of an inspired verbal and visual dialogue between a knowledgeable insider and a curious visitor. Art and illustrations created by artists from the community complement the photographs with uncanny precision, literally embodying the relationship between lived life and the birth of art.
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