Jangarh Singh Shyam
(1960 - 2001)
Born in 1960, Jangarh belonged to the Gond community of Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh. In 1981, artist J Swaminathan discovered his talent and brought him to work at the Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal, when Jangarh was just 16. Here Jangarh developed his own style, a brilliant mix of tribal and modern contemporary art. After moving to Bhopal, Jangarh perfected his art and evolved into a specialist in Brush and Pen Paintings. Jangarh's works reflect the innocent vision of the tribal mind executed with the confidence of a creative genius. Some of his famous paintings include those of the leaping tiger, images of deities from the tribal pantheon, images of birds and peacocks, to name a few. In 1990, he painted the main dome of Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal that depicted the Gond Deity, Baradeo. Jangarh was invited to Paris for a show at the famous Pompidou Centre. He also travelled to the US, UK and many other countries to exhibit his works. He was commissioned to paint the interiros of the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha.
Jangarh Singh was one of the five tribal artists selected to be part of an arts program called the 'Other Masters' at the Mithila Museum, Japan. Established by Tokio Hasegawa, a Japanese enthusiast of Indian art, the Mithila Museum in Japan is considered the home of Indian folk arts in Japan. Every year, the Museum invites folk and tribal artists from India to work out there. The works they produce at the museum are then sold. The aim was to give an identity to the master tribal craftspeople. According to reports, Jangarh hanged himself in the premises of the Mithila Museum in Niligata, near Tokyo on July 2, 2001. It has been said that he was suffering from severe depression, as the museum authorities did not allow him to return to India.