An engineer by education, and a Gond artist by profession, Dhavat Singh has grown up listening to folk tales. He translates some of these tales about the tiger in his paintings, stretching the boundaries of traditional Gond art. Open to experiments and newer ideas, Singh plays with scale, palette and form in Tiger Tales, trying to put a visual form to the myths and folklore surrounding the tiger as told by the Baiga tribe.
Most of the stories are about their reactions and interactions with the tiger in their daily life. Singh sees himself as more of a contemporary artist using traditional skills. Through his work he also wants to bring to the forefront the plight of the tiger and the diminishing numbers in our forests. He draws on local folk tales in creating his compositions and regularly explores vernacular rituals and beliefs through his painted and drawn oeuvre.
Dhavat Singh's work draws on the ancient artistic traditions of the Gond people, employing traditional techniques, beliefs and imagery balanced with modern materials and visual culture. Gond art is known for its meticulous execution and rich colouring. Often used to decorate the walls of houses as a way of promoting conversation and concern about sustainable interactions with the environment, it is an art that is filled with references to local spaces and vernacular folk tales. Singh’s work mines this long tradition of picture-making, creating fantastical drawings and paintings which seek to maintain the prized customs and techniques of local tribal art