Concepts of Godna Art
Although ornaments are quite common among the tribal folks of the state, their spiritual concept of ornamentation varies. As per their belief, ornaments are mortal as they are human made. Thus they have invented Godna art or tattoos which are the permanent ornamentation and lasts forever. Majority of tribal women of Chhattisgarh decorate their bodies with tattoos called "Godna". Some of the tribal men also have this art on their bodies. Tribal beliefs say that these are the only ornamentations which remain with them even after their death. There are lots of other interesting speculations on its origin. Some art historians suppose it started as an acupuncture practice. While some say, in ancient times it was used to pass on secret coded messages. However majority believe the purpose of the art was simply to add ornamental designs to the body for fashion sake, also to mark which tribe the individual belonged too.
Evolution of Godna Art
Godna art is believed to be the adaptation of a primitive form of art. Presently it is done extensively by the women belonging to the Jamgala village situated in Lakhanpur Block of Sarguja. This region has a tradition of adorning women with tattoos. Of late this trend had declined to a point where even the older ladies adept at making tattoos went out of practice. The tribal women are improvising on the art form by painting ‘Godna’ on fabrics, silk, canvas, wall and doors and various other means, instead of just body painting. Ladies like Safiano Bai, Ramkeli and Budh Kunwar from Jamgala revived this art form by painting traditional tattoo motifs on textiles. Women of this village achieved this skill by practicing the art of making traditional tattoo motifs on textiles. A rich culture of Godna art can also be witnessed in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. The drawing style is quite similar to Madhubani paintings. They use natural colour obtained from the forest and combine them with acrylic paint to make it more stable on fabric.