Glimpses of the Gadaba Way of Life

in Image Gallery
Published on: 03 July 2018

Tanuja Sethi

Tanuja Sethi is a photographer and artist based in Bhubaneswar. She has travelled to remote villages for the visual documentation of handcrafted traditions in Odisha in Nuapatna, Gopalpur, Koraput, Bargarh, Rayagada, Ganjam and Puri district for 'Kala aur Katha' projects along with Pankaja Sethi. She has also done photo documentation of bird and butterfly species in Odisha and other regions in India. She divides her time between photography, painting, trekking and animal welfare work.

This visual documentation of Kerang, the bark cloth of Gadaba adivasi women, encompasses the socio-cultural activities of the community. The tradition of wearing and weaving kerang is almost dead, thus, the images help us understand kerang weaving through the Gadaba women weavers who made these cloths many years ago and the few women weavers who still weave occasionally. The images illustrate the fieldwork process and how tools were used in former days to weave Kerang. The dwellings of the Gadaba people are beautifully adorned with coloured earth. The spaces and places of dwelling, both inside and outside, are painted by hand, outlining each area such as windows, walls, kitchen space, floor, raised structures and shelves. The abstract manner of wall painting using the coloured earth such as geru, dhana mati, haldi mati is distinctive of Gadaba Adivasis.