A motif is a French word that literally means “design or a pattern used as a decoration.” Any figure or design is used as the central element and repeated to create artwork is called a motif. The creation of motif is associated with factors that are present in society or are associated with society at a point in time. The rural folk paintings of India bear distinctive colorful designs, which are treated with religious and mystical motifs. Motif plays an important role in painting. It helps in creating a visual identity of an artist. Cave paintings are to be analyzed as the socio-cultural activities of prehistoric societies.
The tribes are the indigenous people who still practice their art and artifacts and reflect their tradition and culture. Each tribal art has its individuality and is different from the rest. Various tribes use different types of colors, patterns, and shapes.
One such tribe is the Gond tribe. They are the illustrious storytellers of the Gond Tribal community. Their art is rich and complex. Their paintings show their belief in ‘viewing a good image brings good fortune. They paint their walls and floors during festivals and rituals. The Pradhan Gonds (sub-tribe of Gonds) were involved in the translation and transformation of songs into images of good fortune. It is believed that they were professional singers before they converted songs into images. Their paintings were inspired by nature, wildlife, religious belief, mythology, and folktales. They painted asymmetrically and lacked details. Modernization has led to the use of modern products and colors to paint and has given Gond art the Global recognition it deserves, but techniques of Gond paintings are found to be nominal.
The structures, shapes, and sizes of the themes of Gond compositions are profoundly affected essentially, strict convictions, culture, and customs of the local area. In any case, a few Gond specialists in late occasions are discovered utilizing themes of mixture nature or motivated by themes of other ancestral or present-day compositions. Indeed, the commercialization and market rivalries have affected nearly each perceived Gond painter to follow an individual and lawfully enrolled theme as a particular character or the marked theme of the painter.
Semiotics the study of the sign process illustrates the patterns, culture, and story that the signs convey. Studies show that the Gond art was more influenced by cultural importance rather than structures and substance of art. Limited exploration of Gond art has made it difficult to study its elements. Gita Wolf the author of ‘Signature: Pattern in Gond Art’ mentioned 23 motifs with their owners but only 9 were found suitable for the study because of lack of clarity, irregular pattern of formation, uncharacteristic elements. The selected motifs have been studied and interpreted mainly based on two primary perspectives, physical (size, shape, color, etc.) appearance and psychological aspects(interpretation of the importance, presentation of the idea, and intended meaning).
The study suggests that the painters use geometrical shapes such as dot, line, semicircle, circle, etc. for motifs to show their love for nature, animals, birds, and happy occasions. Their patterns were repetitive. These signs, shapes, and symbols can be easily understood by anyone and can be related to the surrounding, the meaning of the culture, and its importance.