Durga Bai

Durga Bai is not an artist because she wanted to become one.   She didn’t know such sharp distinctions between artist and farmer existed during her childhood. All she knew was that she had to help her mother draw geometrical and animal figures on the mud walls of their hut, a Gond art form known as “Digna”. Gradually family members and people of her village in Dindori, Madhya Pradesh recognized her dexterity in drawing and she received more and more invitations to paint walls.  Still life was hard, recounts Durga Bai “we have to go hungry sometimes due to poverty”.  Durga Bai married another Gond tribal artist Subash Vyam and together they moved to Bhopal. It was here that Durga Bai and her husband got encouragement to paint by the well-known tribal artist, Jangarh Singh Shyam. Durga started painting regularly and as a result her work was displayed in various art shows and at workshops. Durga Bai steadily enriched her art as her audience changed from the simple onlookers of her village to the national and international stage. Her medium changed from natural colors and murals on walls to paper and acrylic, with bright orange, yellow and green being her favorite colors. Durga Bai ambitiously adopted more current and universal topics for her work such as social discrimination and the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Besides painting Durga Bai has also worked with two alternative community publications, Tara and Navayana to illustrate art books. She received Italy’s Bologna Ragazzi award for her contribution to the book “The Night Life of Trees”. Her other titles include "One, Two Tree!" and "Sultana’s Dream".  Her book “Bhimayana” about Ambedkar, the great Indian social reformer and constitution maker of modern India, has received worldwide acclaim.  In 2002 she was given the Hasta Shilpra Vikas Nigam state award in Madhya Pradesh. In 2009 she received the Rani Durgawati award for excellence in traditional painting as well the Katha Chitrakala Runner’s- up Award, for her children’s book “Mai and her Friends”.



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Title:Bright Birds
Artist:Durga Bai
Year:2011
Medium:Acrylic on Paper
Size:14" x20"
Price:$850.00
Title:Deer & Birds Playing
Artist:Durga Bai
Year:2014
Medium:Acrylic on Paper
Size:10" x 18"
Price:$650.00
Title:Lion Cubs Playing
Artist:Durga Bai
Year:2014
Medium:Acrylic on Paper
Size:10" x 18"
Price:$650.00
Title:Lions Looking at their Reflection
Artist:Durga Bai
Year:2014
Medium:Acrylic on Paper
Size:10" x 14"
Price:$650.00
Title:Elephants, Frogs & Birds
Artist:Durga Bai
Year:2014
Medium:Acrylic on Paper
Size:15" x 22"
Price:$850.00
Title:Ghatri & Crows Drinking Water
Artist:Durga Bai
Year:2014
Medium:Acrylic on Paper
Size:15" x 22"
Price:$850.00