Updated: May 26, 2022
Clockmaker is a Warli vision of an ideal society based on togetherness and a harmony that stems from their common beliefs. Everything is owed to the gods, and life is not necessarily about creating change, instead it is about fulfilling certain duties that will make life complete and keep the society intact. Though they are brought together by religion and faith, they are kept together by an understanding that as individuals they cannot amount to more if they are disconnected from their society. As in the Clockmaker Theory, from a theological perspective, the world functions without the constant interference of a higher power or god even if one does exist just like a clock runs without the clockmaker. In many Warli paintings, god is included, but daily duties continue. So, in the course of life, what is the place of spirituality?
The shloka written in Clockmaker is from the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, text 47:
karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣhu kadāchana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stvakarmaṇi
In english the shloka translates as: “You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.”
In all Warli paintings, as in Clockmaker, there is a theme of determinism along with spirituality. The individuals do not act and perform their duties for a desired result or reward. Rather, they act because of their awareness of their role in society. The outcome of life is already determined in the cycle of life and death, free will is in how the individual can connect with the collective.
The work progresses from bottom to top, beginning with a view of simplistic life in a collective environment through the individual's connection to the earth in where they come from-- in this case their natural homes and their animals. Next, the interactions between individuals in the society are highlighted through music, dance, and celebration. This all culminates at the top of the work in the form of the beliefs that bring them all together. In the center is Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation, and in the section above him are the Dashavatar, the ten incarnations of Vishnu. However, it is clear that even without the top of the work, the society will be intact, what is in question is the strength of their connections without a common belief.