Art in Gujarat is famous for its variety. From ancient forms of art, traditional fabric based paintings, and decorative folk art, to modern art forms such as photography, Gujarat’s art has a lot to offer to connoisseurs as well as ordinary art lovers. Art serves decorative, utilitarian, as well as spiritual functions. The art of Gujarat is varied not only in terms of media, patterns, themes, intensity of colours, but also from a stand point of history and development. There is a fascinating story associated with how each type of art form developed. Even the techniques used to create varied types of paintings, engravings, and decorative motifs are very different. All of them blend to form the rich tapestry that is art in Gujarat.

Gujarat is also famous for dyeing, printing, wood carving, stone carving, and mirror work. Other types of traditional art include Bandhini and Patola, which are hand woven fabric.

Gujarat Paintings

  • Oil Paintings - Oil paintings are created using pigments mixed with drying oil. Drying oil is a binding medium for the pigments. Different types of media are selected based on their drying time or appearance. Each drying oil confers different property to the pigment, such as more intense yellow tinge, or difference in the luminosity of the paint. An artist who uses oil paints may use two or more types of oil for the same painting, to give different lustre and texture effects to the painting.  Popular oil bases include walnut oil, safflower oil, poppy seed oil, and linseed oil. To add more lustre to the paint, the oil is mixed with pine resin or frankincense and boiled. The resins are responsible for the gloss seen in many oil paintings.

  • Glass Painting - Glass painting is one of the older art forms of Gujarat. Glass paintings made their first appearance in Gujarat in the eighteenth century, presumably brought in by Chinese artists. The interesting fact is that a pattern is first etched on the reverse side of the glass surface to be displayed. After that, the colours are filled in on the reverse side. Today, glass paintings have diversified to allow different patterns, themes and colours. Glass paintings are notable for the vivid intensity of colours.

  • Kalamkari art form - The Kalamkari art found in Gujarat has religious underpinnings, and is called Mata ni Pachedi. The paintings are created on a cream coloured fabric base. The subjects of these paintings are usually religious, pertaining to gods and goddesses. The paintings form the backdrop of Goddess Durga statues in many temples. They are brought in by devotees as an offering to the Goddess if their wish is granted.  During religious festivals, these paintings are much sought after in the rural and many urban areas of the state. Keeping pace with the changing times, the hand-painted textiles have given way to partially block-printed fabric, where the borders are created with printing blocks and the rest of the painting is made by hand.

  • Pethora - Pethora is among the most well known of Gujarat's folk art forms. Created by communities such as the Rathwas, these paintings usually serve two purposes: celebration of good times, and a call to the local deity Pithora Baba to rescue the people from drought or disease. The paintings are created as part of a ritual, with a Lakahara group creating the painting and the Badva performing rituals alongside as the head priest. The rituals also include ceremonial singing, dancing, and consumption of food. The paintings are created on walls of huts and buildings by the Rathwas. Today, the elegant motifs and frescoes of Pethora style of art can also be found on terracotta pots and decorative items.

Gujarat is also home to relatively modern art forms, such as photography and paintings created around modern themes, using the latest techniques. Gujarat also has a community of collectors and investors. The new breed of Gujarat's artists has found international renown for their work. Many artists find assistance and support from the State, which helps them organize exhibitions at various cities in Gujarat.

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