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Jivya Soma Mashe: the stalwart of Warli

The wonders of Warli


The visional and tangible culture of indigenous people is categorized as Tribal Art.

Warli is an ancient art practiced by the tribes of Maharashtra, India.

Like pre-historic cave paintings, they use basic graphic signs like a circle or triangle, or a square in an intrinsic way to depict whatsoever.

The Warli tribes once practiced this art by their women to celebrate ceremonial occasions. And here came a man named Jivya Soma Mashe.

Jivya Soma Mashe: Childhood

He was born in 1934 in Dhamangaon village in the Thane district of Maharashtra. At the age of 7, he lost his mother.

His mother's sudden demise and subsequent turn of events affected Jivya very severely. Suddenly he became silent, and whenever being asked, he started expressing himself in the form of paintings. He used this art to express his feelings, to tell his emotions, to execute his sentiments.

 Warli art

Jivya Soma Mashe: Adulthood

Jivya Soma Mashe's works were like a live show of the tribal take of disposition and their urge to maintain harmony with mother nature.

His talent and flair for the art were so impeccable and astonishing that they didn't remain unnoticed.

Though the history of Warli art dates back as early as the 10th century A.D., Mashe, who alongwith his sons, started to paint regularly.

The variety of art in the history of Warli tribes gives a glimpse of scores of ideas on their cultural beliefs, rituals, and connection with mother nature, mountains, rivers, trees, animals, and human beings. Very soon, the artistic yet modern approach of Warli art got its subdued acknowledgment.


Pupul Jayakar, who was active in the elevation and promotion of the Indian heritage of art and culture at that time, brought forward the works of Jivya Soma Mashe. Then there was no looking back for Mashe.

Click the below link to know more about Mashe:

The accolades

In 1976, Indira Gandhi presented Mashe his first national award for tribal art. He was conferred with Shilpi Guru in 2002.

He got the Prince Claus award in 2009 from the Dutch government. He received the Padma Shri award from the Indian government in 2011.

Mashe, now nicknamed the 'father of contemporary Warli art', is said to bring glory to Warli art.

Warli art

His masterpiece works got recognition nationally as well as internationally but so simple was Mashe that he chose his native village to live in, simplicity over stardom, and his commonness over fame.

Working until the end, he breathed his last on the 15th of May 2018. He was accorded a state funeral.

We salute such a fantastic and vernacular artist who overcome all the ordeals, and with their sheer excellence in their work, they contribute to the effervescent heritage of our country.

father of contemporary Warli art

More about Jivya Soma Mashe:

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