Durgabai Vyam is one of the foremost female artists in Bhopal, central India, creating art in the tribal Gond traditional. She was taught the art of digna–a ritual of painting geometric patterns on the inner and outer walls and floors of the house during weddings and harvest festivals– by her mother. Now this art is created on paper and canvas, still using small patterns evocative of tattoos and many colorful dots and lines. The most striking feature of Durgabai’s paintings is her ability to tell a story. Each piece is an expression of religious sentiments and iconography, with horses, elephants, tigers, gods, and objects of daily life painted in multicolored hues.
Rajendra Shyam’s art is inspired by the tales of the Gondi tribe that his family shared with him as a child. These stories are translated in great detail onto canvas, intricate forest and animal scenes patterned with a banda, or rope, texture he experiments with in his works. This rich pattern gives life to his paintings and has become his signature style.