Young Tribals breathe life into dying art forms


By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Vattem Naveen, hailing from Koya tribe in Mangapet mandal, pursued Masters in Science after completing his undergraduation in Education. Though he is confident about becoming a teacher, Naveen is one of the few who have protected an ancient form of Koya art, which was primitively used in rock paintings, mud-wall paintings and also on thresholds of their houses.

His art form was among the exhibits at the Tribal Museum in Masab Tank, during a programme organised by the Tribal Welfare Department as part of the Indigenous People’s Day. The exhibition will end on Aug 9.

The unique feature of this art is that red forest mud and naturally available colouring agents are used to make paintings. These paintings have now taken a contemporary form, wherein acrylics are being supplemented without changing the original colours and their indigenous culture finding their way into canvas and cloth sheets.

An artisan with his exhibits at the Tribal Museum in Masab Tank, on Thursday.

In 2017, as part of the Ministry for Tribal Affairs’ ‘Adivasi Chitra Kala Lekhalu’, youth in the area were trained to keep this art form alive. One of the paintings which define their way of life is a ‘Pagide’, which depicts the leader of the clan and different colours attributed to the members of the clan. Birds and animals also form part of the painting. For example, if a group of the clan members is given blue colour, they are only supposed to hunt an animal given the same colour.

Anjan Kumar, belonging to Naikpodu tribe, is a civil engineer-turned-artist who has taken the mantle from his father, the last of tribals to master making ‘Shirassulu’, or ‘Mukhatogu’, the masks of ‘Devara’ that are placed and worshiped in their temples and in ‘kolupu’ or jataras. The masks of Laxmi Devara, Kittasami and Potharaju placed together and other masks made of a rarely available wood locally called ‘Poniki’ were also displayed. The masks are long-lasting, light-weight and don’t attract termites, according to Anjan.

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