The Evolving Cultural Forms: The Shift in the Paradigm of Oral-pictorial Tradition and Folk Art of India


The oral stories narrated, along with the visuals (on scroll/walls), followed by a reception from the audience in the form of a bow or offering, lead to a set of practices connecting communities. Repetition of such practices within society engaging various communities based on shared belief leads to the formation of rituals. Rituals combining and coding these beliefs develop identity. With these identities, we find our belonging and flourish. India’s rich and diverse practice of oral-pictorial tradition and folk art wrapped in mythological and devotional stories, practices, and rituals in their primitive forms share a divine and sacred status in society, developing an incredible source of intangible cultural heritage. It helps to present the vivid aspects of Indian culture to the globe. Over time, the identity represented through oral-pictorial tradition and folk art evolved, adopted many revivals and shifted various roles. From a profoundly traditional community practice used for communication/ mass communication, it became a viable source of income and visual identity for the country. Tracing the practice by mapping the timeline from the initial documented structure to the changing and adapting forms in survival, the study tries to understand the propagation of Indian oral- pictorial tradition and folk art from its primitive role and representation to the shifting paradigm. Based on the initiative of researchers and practitioners across the time frame, the paper overviews the changing synergy in community, story/subject deviation, and emerging identity for further propagation in these cultural forms.


Ragini Ranjana
Assistant Professor, Design, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bihar, India

Mohammad Shahid
Assistant Professor, Department of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, India


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society



Digital Media


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