The Warli are natural born artists and have a painting tradition with more than 1000 years old. The Warli communities are spread throughout the districts of Thane and Nasik in the state of Maharashtra (West and Central India), and their traditional way of life is a deep reflection of their interaction and coexistence with nature. The Warli believe that everything in this world interacts and that universal harmony is maintained through the unique communication between humans, deities and nature.Traditionally, the Warli paintings were made by the women of the tribe on the walls of their houses and as an integral part of wedding rituals. The walls were first washed with fresh cow dung and then covered with red mud, which gave a brownish finish to the wall that was the base of the paintings. To paint, herb (or bamboo) was used soaked in a thin paste of rice flour that was used to delineate the drawings, always white. The themes chosen were usually scenes of hunting and fishing, festivals and dances, work in the field, trees and animals. In the past, and without a writing system, the Warli paintings served yet another purpose for the tribe: as a mean of communication. Through the paintings the tribe passed its hereditary knowledge and folklore.
Currently, this predominantly ritualistic art form was adopted by young Warli as a common activity, having been transposed into canvas, fabric and paper paintings.