Folk Art

Try Bhil Art of India

What is Bhil Art?

Bhil art is the tribal art of the Bhil tribes in India.  The Bhils are the second largest tribe in India who reside in western and central India, in states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra.

The art is simple images of everyday life of this tribe. Their houses have beautiful frescos of images from myth and folklore on the walls and ceilings. The pigments are made from natural materials like leaves and flowers and they use neem twigs as brushes to create their art. Tribal art has gained popularity in recent years because of its simple and bold creations of everyday life.  

The distinguishing feature of Bhil art are dots which cover the entire plain background. These dots are skillfully repeated on the entire painting in beautiful patterns and color. As read about the art in :

These dots are the distinct identity of Bhil art and have multiple layers of symbolism. Inspired by the kernels of maize—their staple food and crop—each group of dots often represents a particular ancestor or deity. Additionally, each artist composes the dots in distinctive patterns encoding each artwork with signatures visible to the trained eye.

Lado Bai and Bhuri Bai

The two famous artists of the Bhil tribe are Lado Bai and Bhuri bai. Nature, flora and fauna, rituals , festivals, Bhil Gods and Goddesses are something they paint in the old Bhil style. But instead of painting on mud walls, they have now moved to canvases.

Let’s create Bhil art

bhil-art-stage1Children of all ages should try tribal art. They are bright, simple yet so detailed. The figures and animals might not be technically perfect but one should easily understand the motifs and the story behind the painting.

See some Bhil tribal art on Pinterest. See how animals, trees, birds, humans are nicely tied together to show a village scene. The community and the culture are beautifully depicted in these paintings.

Supplies needed

You would need Watercolor paper or canvas and Acrylic art supplies.

Bhil tribal art is bright and show common scenes of village life in India. Children of all ages should try painting one on their own.Have a background color on your sheet. Let the paint dry and then draw something of your choice. Show the figures in action and they should be bundled together.

Once you have drawn, start putting the base colors. Since we are using acrylic, you can easily paint one color above another color. Apply two coats till you have a flat finish. Once the base color has dried, use a thin brush and start applying dots in patterns. If you are not comfortable using brushes, you can use Brustro Acrylic Markers . The dots should be closely packed so the total effect of the color in that area changes. Slowly complete the entire picture.

What can you learn from Bhil tribal art?

  1. Think of your community. Show birds, trees, people, and animals to represent your surroundings. Paint a happy picture with animals, birds, and people in action.
  2. Paint flat with bright colors. Use the primary and complementary colors. Do not try mixing colors.
  3. These paintings represent pointillism art. They are detailed and fill the entire area. Think of patterns to fill the base. 
  4. Fill and balance the entire picture with colors and figures.

To try other forms of tribal art, visit paintings of Norval Morriseau.

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