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Lippan art and influences of natural elements

A little about Lippan Art…

Lippan art, commonly known as Lippan Kaam, is a traditional Indian folk art form originated in the Kutch region of Gujarat. Etymologically, it is broken down into “Lipan” meaning dung and “Kaam” meaning work, hence a work of art made with mud or dung. It has a rich history and background in Gujarat, but has spread to other regions and cultures across the country. In recent years, Lippan art has become increasingly famous in Rajasthan and surrounding areas. 

The concept and designs of Lippan paintings are full of symbolic meanings and representations. The circle provides safety as well as a sense of stability and completeness to the society. Mirrors are a more contemporary addition to the traditional style of art, which is meant to invite light into the room thereby shunning evil energy. Geometric patterns similar to that of Warli art, are a reflection of life’s earthly rhythm. 

Lippan paintings started off as a way of decorating houses and initiating female bonding through art. However, in the modern generation, the demand for Lippan aesthetics has grown, domestically and in the world. Hence, these communities have adopted Lippan art as a means of livelihood to support their families. 

Let us explore the influence of various elements of nature on this art form. 

Earth and Lippan art

Image source: Amounee

The earth, as a natural element, lays the foundation of Lippan paintings. Clay is plastered on the walls and floors to make the canvas. This represents the connection between cultural heritage and the region one belongs to. Creating sustainable art on a piece of land is eco-friendly and climate cautious. 

Additionally, using clay on the ground allows for a good depth, giving texture and realness to the painting. The result looks like a three dimensional Lippan art work. 

Water and Lippan art 

Image source: IndiaMart 

Traditionally, water is mixed with the clay to give it a stronger base and to make it stick on the walls and floors. It also creates a pliable base for any painting or brushwork. 

Symbolically speaking, water provides a feeling of fluidity for creative and narrative expression. Just as this liquid flows into any shape or form, so do the strokes and patterns of the Lippan artist. 

This style of artistic vulnerability is evident in Lippan art. Through the generations, however, we observe modifications in the style of painting. 

Fire and Lippan paintings

Image source: AuthIndia 

During the art process, it goes through the process of Kiln firing. It is an age-old technique followed by many renowned artists throughout the world. The after product is a shiny, smooth surface appealing to its audience. 

Lippan art follows a similar procedure of kiln firing. It involves the application of heat and fire in order to melt certain materials and fuse them together. Keeping in mind the colour, texture and shape of the materials, artists need to be cautious in the mixing process. 

Several other art forms in India have adopted this policy as well. It needs to be taken place with care and safety precautions.  

Air and Lippan paintings

Image source: AuthIndia

Light and the direction of air play an important role in the final product of a Lippan art painting. The melange of natural and artificial light with the angle and the tone of colours used, has to be precise in order for the artwork to look like what the artist envisioned. 

The change in the direction of mirrors and sunlight gives a sense of lightness and freedom to the art as well as the Lippan artist. This is both captivating and mesmerising to the ordinary, non-artistic eye. 

To read more about Lippan artwork and its techniques, visit this link.  

Summing it up

Lippan art is one of the most thoughtful and engaging forms of Indian art. It requires a lot of time, determination and patience to be able to bring a final product. Lippan paintings are full of symbolic meanings and representations. Lippan paintings started off as a way of decorating houses and initiating female bonding through art. 

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By Freya Bulsara 

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