Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Night Life of Trees by Bhajju Shyam, Durga Bai and Ram Singh Urveti

The tree of songs, squirrel dreams and a ceremony performed for a tree's first fruit - these are only a few of the stories in this gorgeous art book from India. "In Gond belief, trees stand in the middle of life, and the spirits of many things live in them." Three artists of the Gond tribe of central India contributed paintings which have been hand silk-screened onto black paper. Each artwork is paired with a tale narrated by the artist.

An example: "Snakes and Earth. The earth is held in the coils of the snake goddess. And the roots of trees coil around the earth too, holding it in place. If you want to depict the earth, you can show it in the form of a snake. It is the same thing." The illustration by Bhajju Shyam shows seven snakes with their heads as the roots of a tree and their bodies forming the branches within a thicket of twigs. In another, a pair of trees called "The Marriage of Desire and Intoxication," the story is of a human husband and wife who were turned into the trees of cannabis and alcohol.

See images (with prints for sale) at the Ashvita website. Lovely!

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