Gond tribe is one of the largest tribal communities in India. They mostly reside in Madhya Pradesh, Andra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Maharashtra and Bihar. Majority of this art work is believed to be created in Patangarh Village in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh. Other than paintings, Gond tribal art also consists of folk songs and folk dances. In fact, many of the traditional Gond paintings are retellings of some of their popular songs and dances.
The word Gond, originated from the Dravidian expression Kond, which translates to the great green mountains, which is also the home to many Gond people, especially those residing in the beautiful green mountains of Madhya Pradesh. These mountains and nature are also the biggest inspiration behind most Gond paintings. The people of Gond tribe (who are also known as Gondis) believe that looking at good paintings, bring good luck. This is also the reason why, these paintings are created around various festivals and ceremonies, such as Holi, Diwali, Karwa Chauth, Nag Panchami, child birth, weddings, etc.
Many artists dedicate their paintings to folklores, mythical beasts and mythological legends. Vivid tones of bright colours such as red, orange, green and blue along with a thick black pen or pencil outline on the subjects is a key characteristic of these paintings. Most of the people in Gond tribe, follow Hindu customs are some are animists. These people believe that just like human beings, all natural things — living or non-living — such as animals, trees, lakes and mountains are also inhabited by spirits. Thus, painting these natural objects, is their way of paying respect and showing their gratitude towards these natural sources and objects.
Jangarh Singh Shyam was a pioneer Indian artist, who was one of the first persons to create Gond art on paper and canvas, rather than walls and floors of the houses. By doing this, Jangarh Singh Shyam established a new school of Indian art; Janghar Kalam. Painting on paper and canvas encouraged transporting and selling the art and gave it a global platform. In the recent years, the growing popularity of traditional art has encouraged many Gond artists to paint on wooden trays, sarees, dupattas, stoles, jewellery boxes, coasters, etc.