Radiant Wall Panel

Horses gallop on the wall
carrying the gods
over the mound of seven low hills.

History of the land,
myths of the people,
journeys from forests to pasture lands

get written on the wall
in sepia, indigo, red
drawn from earth and plants around –

the pigments mixed with juices from flowers
dyes crushed from berries
and ground from stones.

Gods, forest rangers, tigers,
copulating hawks, green rivers
sun and moon, jeeps, rifles

crowd the dwelling place,
transforming the home into
cultural and political space.

( Ratwa Bhils are a community of people living in parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, in India. They paint the walls of their homes with stories from their myths and legends. This is a ritualistic practice where the whole village is involved – a priest in trance incants and the artist who is called the lakhara or writer represents the marriage of their God Pithora Babu. The canvas becomes a larger signifier as elements of history, political struggle, economic deprivation, cultural marginalization of this indigenous community get represented.)

Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo # 2


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