GEETA BARIYA

I am not from the Bhil community. I married into it when I fell in love with a man from this tribal community from Madhya Pradesh. The Bhils use their colourful paintings as part of their marriage ceremonies. They are traditionally done by male elders from the community. I was encouraged to learn the art form by my husbands' uncle. None of us could have predicted that what began as charcoal drawings on my kitchen walls would one day get me commissions, exhibitions and residencies. I have travelled to many parts of India with my work and met all kinds of people. My husband encourages and supports me. The community sometimes criticise us as I have to come out of purdah for my work. But I have meetings with government officials, clients and customers. I cannot meet them from behind a cloth so when I am working I don't keep purdah. But when I go home I have to cover my face. I am proud of my work. it has brought me financial independence, fame and new experiences. I am now encouraging other women in our family to learn the art of Bhil Painting. 

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