Bhajju Shyam

Portrait of contemporary Gond art

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Gond Art: The artist in front of his home (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Bhajju Shyam

Bhajju Shyam was a young boy when he began observing his Uncle Jangarh's life and art. From the tribal world of dreams, he too created his own dream. In 2002 he was invited to paint murals for a restaurant in London. He had never been abroad before. The culture, weather, architecture, language... everything was new. He did not allow it to shake his confidence. Instead he decided he would translate a unique view of what he saw into art.

Gond Art: The artist at home (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

In Bhajju Shyam’s well-appointed surroundings, when compared to many of the younger aspiring artists who live in simpler, more crowded places, he has brought a sense of modernity demonstrated by his television, interior décor, furniture, and a selection of paintings.

Gond Art: The artist's wife Deepa Shyam in their home (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

He hangs his mentor’s and his own paintings on the walls of his living room as any well-established artist in the western world would do.

Gond Art: View from the artist's house (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

His double-storeyed home in a middle-class locality of Bhopal, the capital city of the state of Madhya Pradesh now makes the rural homes in far off villages recede even further into the distance.

Gond Art: Artworks adorn the walls of artist Bhajju Shyam's house (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Bhajju Shyam travels to London, Australia and the USA with the confidence of a true professional artist.

No longer quiet or shy like his inspiration and fountainhead, Jangarh Singh Shyam.

Gond Art: Artwork for the book Creation (2015) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

Published Books

Bhajju Shyam has translated his unique view of the world into art. He published 'The London Jungle Book' in 2004 in collaboration with Tara Books, a publishing house that specialized in art works by traditional artists. The eternal quality of India’s craft, art and textile traditions stems from the natural ability to transform their own ancient cultural skills and world view to integrate and thus challenge contemporary views of other worlds.

Gond Art: The artist with his first book (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The London Jungle Book (Tara Publishing, 2014) was Bhajju’s first book. Through the medium of his uniquely Indian Gond Pardhan art, he created an engagingly humorous view of his journey and impressions of London that turned all the usual perceptions on their heads.

Gond Art: The artist showing some of his published works (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The eternal quality of India's craft, art and textile traditions stems from the natural ability to transform their own ancient cultural skills and world view to integrate and thereby challenge contemporary views of other worlds.

Though at first hesitant about the new format and medium, Bhajju found the book opening a new door for his art.

Gond Art: The artist showing some of his published works (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Many collaborations with Tara Books followed, including The Night Life of Trees (2006).

Gond Art: Artwork for the book The Night Life of Trees (2006) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

Alone in the Forest was published in 2013.

Gond Art: Artwork for the book Creation (2015) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

Creation was published in 2015.

Gond Art: Artwork for the book Creation (2015) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

Through his exposure to artists like Escher, Bhajju discovered that he could further expand the world of real and imagined forms, abstractions and dighna patterns, to merge them all as he willed.

Gond Art: Artwork for the book Creation (2015) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

He pursues the path of a well-considered sophisticated vision combining individualism with ‘tradition’.

Gond Art: Bharat Bhavan (2014) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

Bhajju Shyam's Paintings

Bhajju Shyam works on paper and canvas and uses all kinds of colours and brush sizes. He may also work on a mural, or three dimensional objects if they are commissioned works. He sketches his work and plans his subject matter as he goes along. It is usually based on a philosophical or ethical idea, expressed through magical images, flora, fauna and avifauna.

Gond Art: Bhajju Shyam with some recent works (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Bhajju mostly works on paper and canvas.

Gond Art: Creation (2015) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

He uses all kinds of colours and brush sizes.

Gond Art: The Fruit Bearing Tree (2014) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

It is usually based on a philosophical or ethical idea, expressed through flora, fauna and avifauna.

Gond Art: Untitled Work (2016) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

His ideas are expressed through magical images.

Gond Art: Painting of Dighna Art (2017) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

He also takes up occasional commissioned work on objects.

Gond Art: Bhajju Shyam in his old neighbourhood (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Bhajju Shyam, The Artist

Through his exposure to artists like Escher, Bhajju discovered that he could further expand the world of real and imagined forms, abstractions and dighna patterns to merge them all as he willed. He pursues the path of a well-considered sophisticated vision combining individualism with ‘tradition’.

Gond Art: The artist at work (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Bhajju Shyam lives with his family in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He spends several weeks in the year travelling for exhibitions in locations in India and abroad.

Gond Art: The artist with some of his published works (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

He also conducts art workshops for students and artists.

Gond Art: Bharat Bhavan (2014) by Bhajju ShyamDastkari Haat Samiti

Credits: Story

Text: Aloka Hiremath, and Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Suleiman Merchant
Artisans: Bhajju Shyam, Deepa Shyam, Roshni Vayam, Dhavat Uike, Suresh Dhurve
Ground Facilitator: Aloka Hiremath
Curation: Ruchira Verma

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Crafted in India
Meet the makers. Explore their craft. Share their stories.
View theme
Google apps