Warli & Determinism

2020

Warli painting is an ancient tribal art that finds its origin in the Northern Sahyadri Range of India. Most of the tribal people in that region still use Warli as a way to depict daily life in a way that emphasizes its simplicity and connection to the earth and spirituality. 

While trying to understand Warli painting and its subjects, I noticed a theme of determinism. 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. 

This point of view in itself has so many facets that are worth exploring. In this world where we are so preoccupied with success and growth, free will seems to reign over all our minds. Would the world be a simpler place if we shifted to a more deterministic view? 

Another concept that comes to mind is more theological: the Clockmaker Theory. This states that the world will function 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?

In the Warli & Determinism collection, I have also created another sub collection: The Warli Miniatures. These minis focus on actions in isolation of community whereas bigger works take into consideration the community and the summation of its actions.