Open your hearts to the Jogi

Rajasthan is trying its best to keep its tribal art forms alive. For this, the state government has initiated a project to showcase these dying art forms in nooks and corners of the city, to make the aam aadmi aware about the need to protect these special art forms, finds out Rajasthan Post     

Rajasthan’s living art will not get obliterated. At least no so for the time being. Just like the Shekhawati region, Jaipur is now turning into an open art gallery to keep the legacy of its tribal art alive and kicking.

The Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC)  has decided to showcase the magic of Rajasthan’s living tribal arts, which are fading away with the passage of time. The project, claiming to be the first of its kind in the country, is to honour the tribal arts and artists of the desert state.

Jogi Art
Jogi Art

The project was launched on Gandhi Jayanti yesterday, with over 70 display sites showcasing the ‘Jogi’ art.

For the moment, JMC has decided to focus on Jogi art form, which hinges around dots and lines. The colourful posters and vibrant display of this art form has been put up at 40 places around the city on hoardings, 40 bus shelters and on 25 bus panels, hip-hop buses so that the common man gets acquainted with this unique art form.

Jogi Art
Jogi Art


People can also buy the folk art paintings from special exhibition cells, which would go a long way in helping the artists financially and also keep the art form alive. Jogi art form is practised by the artists from Magriwada in Reodar tehsil of Sirohi district.  

Interestingly, it is practiced today only by the members of a nuclear family, making it an ‘unseen art’ in need of promotion and recognition. The artists, Teju Ganesh Jogi, Soni Jogi,  Sangeeta Jogi, Bablu Jogi and Raju Jogi were especially invited to Jaipur to create the pieces for this project.

During the three-day stay, the artists created independent illustrations of ‘Jogi’ art, in both colour as well as black and white forms. Each hoarding carries the name and photograph of the artist, acknowledging their contribution to this particular art form.

The initiative is being managed by JMC with help from Delhi’s ‘Must Art Gallery’, which has about 700-800 pieces of Jogi art form, says Meenakshi Gupta, the gallery representative.    

Must Art Gallery director, Tullika Kedia told Rajasthan Post that these artists actually came from Chittorgarh and then settled in Sirohi district and then moved on to Ahmedabad.

The first of the Jogi artists, Ganesh Jogi, was actually a singer, a bard, who was from a community that wandered the streets from early in the morning, singing devotional songs to the neighbourhood. In return the singers were given grain, clothes and some money. Ganesh like others in his community, had to make other livelihood choices also to make both ends meet. Once  when his home town was plagued by a severe drought, Ganesh left home for Mount Abu, a major pilgrimage centre. He worked there for a while and then moved to Ahmedabad, where he tried to make a living by singing. There he met artist Haku Shah, who was interested in folk music and art.

Haku Shah found Ganesh a job as a singer in a hotel. But he also gave him a pencil and a paper and asked him to draw. Ganesh was surprised but on Haku Shah’s insistence, tried and later developed a style of his own – naive, fresh and extraordinary, composed of complex images made up of dots and lines. And that is how the Jogi art form developed. Ganesh died at the age 72.”

Meenakshi says : “Ganesh encouraged his wife Teju Behn, a singer in her own right, to draw as well. Eventually their children came to paint as well, and art became a means of survival for the entire family. Haku Shah  encouraged Teju to draw too, who had never seen a book before because there were no books in the village she grew up in. Today Teju Behn has book on herself termed Drawing from the City ( by Tara Books). The book is at once a celebration and a  tribute to Ganesh’s memory, to the art that this gentle and loving couple practised together. Ganesh and Teju Behn were  invited to craft and art fairs across the country.”

JMC has also created a special cell for the art lovers to get in touch with the artists. The contact details of the cell are provided on the hoardings. The project will also financially strengthen the artists through new prospects. As most of the artists come from a humble background with little or no business and marketing skills, the cell will serve as a point of coordination between the artists and buyers.

The upcoming phases will display other tribal arts inherent to Rajasthan. Each art form is expected to be showcased around the city for at least 30-45 days.



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