From livelihoods to living rooms: how Tamaala Gallery brings folk art to Indian homes

India has a rich tradition of folk art, as seen in the gond painting exhibition in this Bengaluru gallery. The founders help bridge the urban-rural art gap through art sales, workshops, and custom-design projects.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 335 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Tamaala Art Gallery in Bengaluru was founded by Vinay Prashant and his wife, Suvarna Kamakshi (see earlier photo essay here). He was previously marketing head at Amagi Media Labs and VP of Radio Mirchi (Gujarat).

In addition to contemporary art, the gallery has a strong focus on bridging the urban-rural art gap by featuring the works of Indian folk artisans and crafts communities. By bringing designers to work with rural artists, it supports sustainable livelihoods through creation of artworks, lanterns, décor, traditional games, toys and jewellery.

“We now work with 100 artists in 14 clusters across India,” says Vinay Prashant, in a chat with YourStory. The current exhibition features the gond tribal art of Naresh Shyam Gond from Chattisgarh, with paintings priced at Rs 4,500 each.

Naresh’s entire family, across three generations, has contributed to the painting of each work, Vinay explains. Each family member has a unique kind of brush stroke, and this creative diversity is reflected in each painting.

“It is very important to support indigenous art,” Vinay urges, particularly since the younger generation of many artist families wants to give up their tradition and move to cities, sometimes working as truck drivers.

Tamaala helps create economic opportunities for such artist communities by channeling their work to urban and corporate customers. For example, USB stick covers are now being made with an artistic wooden finish from Channapatna, a town near Bengaluru famous for its wooden toys.

“For a management training programme, we have created a unique mandala kit and a strategy game based on the Mahabharata. We also have other innovations like terracotta sound amplifiers that have opened up more avenues in employing the skills of our artisan families,” Vinay explains. The gallery plans to feature a demonstration and workshop in the gond art form as well.

“We have many folk art traditions going back to over a thousand years, and constitute our precious heritage. We have to show that we value our culture and our roots,” Vinay signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and cherish as well as support our artistic diversity?

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Also read: Support traditional and folk arts, don’t just learn about them: Sankalita Das, Secure Giving


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