Arts and Entertainment

HUB-Robeson Galleries to feature Jivya Mashe and the Warli tradition of India

"The Hermit's Daughter" by Jivya Mashe  Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The HUB-Robeson Galleries on Penn State’s University Park campus will host “Birth of the Painted World: Jivya Mashe and the Warli Tradition of India” in Robeson Gallery until Nov. 19. At 5 p.m. on Oct. 16, a short concert featuring traditional Indian folk music will be played on the Monumental Staircase on the ground floor of the HUB-Robeson Center. A public reception will immediately follow from 6-8 p.m. A Warli painting workshop for children and their families will take place at 10 a.m. the following morning, Oct. 17, in the Robeson Gallery lobby.

“Birth of the Painted World,” curated by Stephen Hirshon, professor of art history, features paintings from the collections of Sanchi Gillett and Gallerie AK by Jivya Mashe, the master of the traditional art of the Warli Tribe, as well as paintings by his sons Sadashiva and Balu Mashe, his grandson and granddaughter, and other Warli artists completed between 1999–2012. Also on view are photographs of the Warlis by Martin Strasmore.

The Warli are a tribe of 300,000 people that live about 100 miles from Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) in the state of Maharashtra, India. They speak a language that has no written form, and for thousands of years women of the tribe rendered intricate paintings on the walls of their earthen homes during times of festivals and marriages as an invocation and blessing. When Jivya was orphaned as a young boy, he refused to speak and only expressed himself pictorially, drawing figures and scenes in the earth, using the ancient Warli painting style as his reference. As Jivya’s verbal silence continued for a number of years, his visual expression developed into an artistic voice that would soon be translated into award-winning paintings on paper and canvas.

Jivya became the first man to render paintings in the traditional Warli style and has since received numerous awards and has been recognized by two Presidents of India as the leading master of Warli painting. His success has sparked a growing interest in Warli art worldwide and greater numbers of Warli children, men, and women are learning this craft. Jivya’s paintings have been shown in prestigious galleries and museums in Europe, Japan, Canada and India. This is the first major retrospective of his works in the United States.

Esteemed Warli artist Sadashiva Mashe will teach a hands-on workshop for children and families at 10 a.m. Oct. 17 in the Robeson Gallery lobby. This workshop is a rare opportunity to study with an accomplished Warli artist. Sadashiva is traveling to the United States from India for the exhibition opening and will be teaching the basics of Warli art, including common Warli symbols. Seating is limited, and those who are interested in participating must register by calling the gallery office at (814) 865-2563 or by emailing Kelly at All events are free and open to the public.

For more information on this and other exhibitions, contact the HUB-Robeson Galleries at (814) 865-2563 or visit

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated October 05, 2015