Kurumba Paintings

The C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation is just such a miracle. The Foundation is singlehandedly responsible for the revival of an art that was almost lost forever. Under the leadership of Dr. Nanditha Krishna, a historian, environmentalist and writer, the Foundation stumbled upon an aged artist of the Kurumba tribe. He was the only artist in his tribe.

After realising the gravity of the situation, the Foundation convinced the artist to teach his grandson the art before sending in their own artist to show him how to use modern mediums of paintings such as the pencil and brush on paper.
The Kurumba paintings were originally only done ritualistically and annually by the priests of the tribe. The revival of the art now sees these vibrant designs and colours being set on paper with the use of watercolours.

The art is said to have been inspired by 3,000-year-old rock art from the Kothagiri region in Nilgiris known as Eluthu Paarai. Today we see, Kurumba paintings flourishing as a direct result of the dedicated efforts of the Foundation since 1998. For the Kurumba tribe, this is not just a way to preserve their culture and heritage but it is also a way of life.

These paintings are a culmination of not just history but of a plethora of stories of a tribe that avoided an end to seeing itself revive and rejuvenate itself.
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