Indian Folk Art

Folk art in India takes on different forms through varied media such as paper-art, weaving and designing of objects such as jewellery and toys, pottery, painting, metalwork etc. These are not just aesthetic objects. As a matter of fact, they have an important significance in people's lives and are intricately linked to their beliefs and rituals. 
Indian folk art is reflected in sculpture, bamboo carvings, face masks used in rituals and ceremonies, paintings on cloth, textiles, cane baskets, kitchen objects, toys out of dry coconut shells, the human body itself in the form of tattoos and piercings and so on.
There is a deep symbolic meaning attached not only to the objects themselves but also the materials and techniques used to produce them. The folk spirit has a tremendous role to play in the development of art and in the overall consciousness of indigenous cultures.
Folk art often includes the visual expressions of the wandering nomads. This is the art of people who are exposed to changing landscapes as they travel over the valleys and highlands of India. They carry with them the experiences and memories of different spaces and their art consists of the transient and dynamic pattern of life.
It has its root in traditions that come from community and culture. Folk artists traditionally learn skills and techniques through apprenticeships in informal community settings, though they may also be formally educated. 
Generally, the objects of folk art have practical utility of some kind, rather than being exclusively decorative. Tangible folk art includes crafted objects while music, dance and narrative structures constitute intangible folk art. 
Whatever is the form they address a practical purpose through demonstration, conversation and practice. 
The folk art has a recognizable style and method in crafting its pieces. It allows products to be recognized and attributed to a single individual or workshop. These objects share several characteristics that distinguish them from other artefacts of material culture.
Improvisation in the production process plays an important role in the continuance of these traditional forms. Many folk art traditions like quilting, ornamental picture framing and decoy carving continue to be practiced even today with new forms emerging.
Folk art objects are not mass-produced. However, as the equipment and tools used were no longer readily available in the community, these traditional crafts moved into technical schools or applied arts schools.
While most tribes and traditional folk artist communities are assimilated into the familiar kind of civilized life, they still continue to practice their art. Unfortunately though, market and economic forces have ensured that the numbers of these artists are dwindling. 
Examples of folk arts are Warli, Madhubani Art, Manjusha Art, Tikuli Art and Gond etc.
A lot of effort is being made by various NGOs and the Government of India to preserve and protect these arts and to promote them. Several scholars in India and across the world have studied these arts and some valuable research is carried on them.
Folk artworks, styles and motifs have inspired various artists all over the world. For example, Pablo Picasso was inspired by African tribal sculptures and masks. Natalia Goncharova and others were inspired by traditional Russian popular prints called luboks.