“Everything in our lives revolve around art” Sher Singh, Artist
The Bhil Tribe—native to Western and Central India—amongst approximately 50 other Indian tribes, is the third largest community today. Originally, hunters and great archers living in Madhya Pradesh’s thick jungles—they have long taken to agriculture and some have migrated to large cities taking up masonry, road making and other manual labour.
The Bhil History
There are several hypotheses that suppose the origin of the Bhil tribe and as a result historians and researchers so far have not quite confirmed any one theory to be true. Numerous attempts have been made to discover the original status and cultural conditions of the tribe since the times of Aryan invasion on Indian subcontinent, if not its racial origin. Although, closer to modern times the Bhils have been mentioned more frequently in the historical texts.
The Bhil Lifestyle
The Bhils belong to a close-knit community, and only marry within their own clan and classes. Their close relationships are tightly based on mutual love and respect. The Bhils are popularly seen as highly superstitious tribal people who strictly follow a designed set of rules and regulations. Their religious sphere is represented by variety of spirits, ghosts, gods, goddess, and deities.
Art by the Bhils from Jhabua
Art is integral to the Bhil community. Song, dance and painting, accented with feasting and drinking is used to mark events, store memories and fight despair and disease. Steeped in rituals, symbolism and tradition, the rich textures of their paintings connect them to nature and the Adivasi life that is their legacy.