The Tallest Story Competition: Bringing Indian Tribal Art to Life

West Highland Animation brought Indian tribal art to life through animation. Leslie MacKenzie had been catering to the children from the Gaelic minority population of Scotland by producing animation. Where does Indian tribal art figure in the scheme of things?

Via talleststory

Leslie felt it would be helpful for minority cultures to know about each other as the world moves towards globalization. She wanted to explore the tribal stories and art forms of the subcontinent. She noticed that there were more Asians living in Scotland than Gaelic speakers, and all of a sudden the plan had a name: In “The Tallest Story Competition”, the Scots would host a competition, and tribal communities from India would be invited to tell the most fantastic story. Their traditional art styles would be adapted for animation.

Five tribal art forms would be selected: Warli stick figure paintings are done in white, upon a mud background, a style that would be good for cel animation. Gond painting uses an technique of creating textures by pattern, and it would be suitable for cutout animation, while the brass sculptures of Bastar could be animated using computer generated 3D; The Patua style and the Saora styles would also work as hand drawn or as cutouts.

A team travelled to India to conduct research for their project, document the art styles to use as references for animation, visit the Master craftsmen of each art form and gain a better understanding of the art forms. But what was The Tallest Story Competition all about?

Via west highland animation

This unusual animated programme features well-known Gaelic mimic and comedian Norman MacLean as an animated puppet introducing five tall tales from the remote heartlands of tribal India. Not content with merely introducing the cartoons he also plays a number of parts in the stories themselves – these include a raucous jackdaw, an underworld shaman, the humble House-Bonga and even the carnivorous Head-Bonga himself!

Via talleststory

The Tallest Story Competition has been dubbed into Hindi for broadcast in India, and the five tribal languages for distribution in the tribal areas. It is the first animation in Gondi, Santali, Soara, Halbi and Marathi. The aim is to increase awareness and pride in the minority cultures of India. People who have not interacted with tribal communities might come to see that these modest rural people have highly refined artistic traditions, and environmental philosophies that are extremely relevant today.

The Pot of Gold

Life seems unfair in the Worli village where the husband works away at his paintings while his young wife does everything else. As her frustration rises he tries to convince her that God is the ultimate provider. Her doubts are only overcome when the pot full of gold that she finds in the forest is miraculously delivered to the young couples’ house. 2D white figures on Terracotta backgrounds in traditional Worli Tribal painting style. Sound track by Lokam, Gautam and Uttam the famous Baul Brothers from Bengal.

Read more about this project here and here.


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