Jangarh Singh Shyam

(India 1961 – 2001)

Peacock and snake

Not on display
Further information

The original inhabitants of India are most correctly described by the umbrella term Adivasi. Under this term a large number of communities exist with different social, religious and artistic practises. Jangarh Singh Shyam was born into the community of Gond people who are one of the largest indigenous groups in India.

As a response to drought and wide spread changed living conditions during the 1980’s the Bharat Bhavan arts centre located in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh encouraged local and international curators and artists to visit Adivasi communities as a way of promoting their cultural practises.This acted as a catalyst for many Adivasi painters who found new subjects and mediums for painting. Raised within a family of bards, Jangarh Singh Shyam’s talent as an artist was 'discovered' by the renowned Indian modernist painter J Swaminath. As a young man he made the transition from village life to work in Bhopal and went on to feature in major international exhibitions.

In the village environment Gond paintings were painted directly onto walls to illustrate folk lore and celebrate important social events. On the international scene, Jangarh Singh Shyam was able to translate the songs and stories of his people into exquisitely rendered paintings on paper. 'Tithee bird' is typical of his prodigious style. Vibrant, colourful, dynamic and expressive, his work gives life and vision to a world of myriad myths animated by the animals, birds, mountains and deities of his village home.

Place of origin
Patangarh village, Mandla District, Madhya Pradesh, India
Cultural origin
Gond people, Pardhan subcaste
Painting, Drawing
watercolour on paper
117.9 x 150.0 cm
D G Wilson Bequest Fund 2019
Accession number
© Jangarh Singh Shyam