Origins of Art: The Gond Village of Patangarh

Kodai Matsouka, Bhajju Shyam

The rich tradition of art from the Pardhan Gond community of central India is now internationally acclaimed. But what is not as well known is the fact that it is a surprisingly young form, practised in this manner for not more than 35 years. So how did it evolve?
The village of Patangarh, in the Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh, is central to the story. All the best known artists – including the brilliant Bhajju Shyam – happen to come from there. Many of them have since moved to the city of Bhopal, but the village – and the forest surrounding it – is still central to their art and imagination. How are we to understand this relationship? How did the culture, craft and everyday life of people in this rural area give rise to such sophisticated art?
To explore these connections, artist Bhajju Shyam accompanies Japanese photographer Kodai Matsuoka on a visit to Patangarh. The book weaves together their conversation in the form of an inspired verbal and visual dialogue between a knowledgeable insider and a curious visitor. Art and illustrations created by artists from the community complement the photographs with uncanny precision, literally embodying the relationship between lived life and the birth of art.

$ 36.00

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Weight 830.0 g
Dimensions 240 × 180 mm





Offset-printed with screen-printed insert



HSN Code



Kodai Matsuoka

Kodai Matsuoka is a photographer based in Tokyo. He began his career as a travel writer and has visited more than 50 countries. He has been fascinated with India since his first visit in 1990, and returns for several visits every year.

Bhajju Shyam

Bhajju Shyam

Bhajju Shyam belongs to the Gond tribe of artists—a community of highly visual story-tellers—from Madhya Pradesh in India. His captivating art keeps the symbolic density of the Gond style, bringing to it the intelligence and clarity of his own vision. The versatile artist has received international acclaim since his runaway success in 2003 with The London Jungle Book. Click here to discover his other Tara Books.


Ragini Siruguri

Ragini Siruguri is a visual communication designer from Hyderabad. She is passionate about photography and music, among other things. She loves to experiment with the smell of colours, the taste of words, and thinking between the lines. Click here to discover her other Tara Books.