The art of the Bhil people in Central and Western India is alive with intricate patterns and bright colors, a long-held ritual that centers their hopes for harmony and abundance for their tribe. The paintings and frescoes can be found on village walls and beyond to share, as BhilArt.com explains, the “stories, prayers, memories and traditions… painted onto plain backgrounds in a symphony of multihued dots.”
Bhil artwork is shared and celebrated in Hum Chitra Banate Hai (We Make Images), an origin story about why the Bhil people paint. Indian filmmaker Nina Sabnani worked with Bhil artist Sher Singh Bhil to tell the tale. From Psyche:
“Narrated from the perspective of a rooster, the story recounts a journey to find a shaman to bring relief from a catastrophic drought. Once located, the shaman inspires the Bhil to paint their homes – an act that brings rain, bountiful crops and, ultimately, peace and prosperity.”
“The artistic collaboration results in a playful and evocative animation, with a visual style unlike anything you’re likely to find on your streaming service of choice. This absorbing imagery, combined with the unpretentious storytelling and the expressive narration of the celebrated Indian actor Raghubir Yadav, builds a world into which it’s easy to dissolve. But beyond its brisk charms, Hum Chitra Banate Hai is also an accomplished work of visual ethnology. By bringing authentic Bhil imagery to life, Sabnani and Singh Bhil at once share and express a tradition at the centre of Bhil culture, portraying a people to whom art, nature and spirituality are inseparable.”
“I try to tell the stories they want to narrate in their own visual language, by using animation,” Sabnani explains to The Indian Express:
“I don’t have any style because I am only trying to say what these artists want to say with my work. I don’t use their art for anything other than with them. Animation is a good way to conserve art forms, since we retain the voice and the story along with the artefacts.”
Watch more stories from around the globe:
• Kapaemahu, the Native Hawaiian story of four legendary mahu healers
• Hopi Origin Story, a PBS Native America Sacred Story
• An Eagle’s Feather, an animation about the mighty Philippine Eagle
• Flower Dance (ផ្ការាំ), the Cambodian folk song animated
• The Hoarder (1969) by Evelyn Lambart
• The North Wind and the Sun: A Fable by Aesop
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