A Bhil Story


Author: Nina Sabnani
Illustrated by Sher Singh Bhil

9789350466285 | Centre Stapled | pp. 32 | 2015 | Tulika Publishers

This is an origin story about Bhil art with stunning illustrations in the traditional pithora style.

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Kuk.. Kuk.. The poor rooster can’t KUKAROOKOO because his throat is so parched. There is not a drop of water left in the village pond. The only hope is to find a badwa who can ask the gods to send rain. What does the badwa tell them to do? Go home and paint! The adventure-filled origin myth about Bhil art revolves around the thirst for rain and water conservation – important for the people living in the dry western and central parts of India. Their close interaction with the natural world finds an abiding expression in their art, called pithora. Painting is like prayer for the Bhils, and each dot in the vibrant and colourful patterns represents an ancestor whom they invoke for the well-being of all forms of life. A Bhil Story was developed during a workshop at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay, supported by the Tata Centre for Technology and Design after which Nina and her team travelled with Sher Singh to his village. They recorded the story in the voices of the villagers for an animated film called Ek Bhil Ni Varta, from which the book evolved. The entire collaboration has created a stunning picture book that is humorous and dramatic.


Nina Sabnani
Illustrator: Sher Singh Bhil




Tulika Publishers


Centre Stapled



Year of Publication:






Country of Origin:


About the Contributors

The author is an illustrator, animator and filmmaker, and is currently Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay, Mumbai. Her passion for collaborative work with folk artists led to four earlier books – Stitching Stories, My Gandhi Story, Mukand and Riaz and It’s All the Same.

The illustrator belongs to the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. He learnt painting from his mother, Bhuri Bai, from the age of seven. By 15, he was drawing on canvas and had developed his own unique colour palette. He is currently associated with the Manav Sangrahalaya in Bhopal.


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