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Warli Painting — Art as an expression

August 7, 2011
By Shikha Pasrija , Times-Republican

Expression is said to be an art. Folk arts dating back hundreds and thousands of years, found carved and painted on trees, walls and stones tell us a story of art as an expression. The people, their lives, their celebrations and fears are reflected in such rudimentary paintings. They are found everywhere in world where civilizations prevailed, left for us to interpret and bring them to life by giving them words; a journey from art as an expression to expression as an art.

Warli Painting in India is such tribal art dating back several hundred years. The word "Warli" comes from the word "warla" which means a piece of land. The Warli tribe painted the walls of their mud homes with pictures to depict their social life and mark important occasions such as weddings, birth and the harvest. Their extremely rudimentary wall paintings use a very basic graphic vocabulary from their observation of nature: a circle, a triangle and a square.

A circle represents the sun and the moon

Article Photos

A triangle represents mountains and pointed trees

A square represents the piece of land symbolizing fertility.

These geometric figures are joined together to form beautiful patterns. Like, two apex of triangles are joined together to form a human figure.

To make your own Warli painting:

Choose a design

Draw pattern with pencil

Outline with black marker

Fill in the colors

This art was derived from observation of nature and a limited vocabulary... Simple way to do it is just let go of all you know for few moments. Limit yourself to discover what's unlimited and that's expression

Enjoy the art!!


Shikha Pasrija has a passion for art. She has organized several successful art workshops which have been immensely popular both with kids and their families. Follow her blog at



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