THE GRAPHICS studios of the Government College of Art are bustling with a new energy, a prelude to the many creative outcomes that 15 artists will work towards, as part of a printmaking workshop by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi. Five eminent printmakers from across the country and 10 upcoming ones from the Tricity are part of the five-day workshop, which began on Thursday morning and is open to students of the college as well as people interested in viewing the artists at work and also getting closer to the many nuances and challenges of the process.
A slide show by the guest artists every evening, explains Bheem Malhotra, chairperson of the Akademi, will give a new dimension to the effort, which has been planned after a gap of more than a decade.
Printmaking or graphic art is a technique where multiple images, each called a print, can be produced from a single plate. It has different forms such us relief printing, serigraphy, intaglio, lithography et al.
The stones, plates, acids, oils, machines, tools, weather… and of course, the creator, smiles Manuk Prashar, a young printmaker from Chandigarh, all play a part in creating magic. The entire process is an experiment, a challenge at every step, says Prashar, who did her Master’s in printmaking from the college and is now working as a graphic designer.
“We don’t know what the results will be. It takes a few seconds to create tones, like I experienced while working on a series on the trees of Chandigarh, which change colours almost every month. Working with these senior artists will give us a new perspective, as will creating in a group with people using different techniques and styles,” explains Prashar.
Ajit Seal, who is here from Shantiniketan, where he teaches printmaking, was busy selecting the right size of stone to start work, and hopes to create a semi-abstract print using aluminium sheets.
“The college has fantastic equipment and facilities and it’s good to work with your contemporaries and see the varied and changing treatments and mediums that give the process a new form. Also, I am looking forward to interacting with students and the public,” says Seal, who agrees that as opposed to painting and sculpture, printmaking doesn’t have a very large market.
Expressing his concerns through etching and lithography, Sushan Guha, who too studied at Shantiniketan, finds black and white more effective to make open and sublime statement. Awarded many scholarships and grants, Guha has travelled across the world which has given him a new exposure, freedom to work and research. “Teaching is my way of sharing technical and creative knowledge, one I consider a responsibility. I am looking at the workshop as a space for sharing, where I learn from young people of the digital age and also produce a print in the process,” says Guha. Social themes related to suppression, the common man’s struggles in the city, global problems of war are the subjects Guha expresses in his work which, he says, takes both effort and time.
Kathakali dancer, painter, printmaker… Kavita Nayar works in phases, be it printmaking, serigraphy, painting and etching. Most of Nayar’s work is autobiographical, guided by the many ecstasies and agonies that life presents. “Medium is the vehicle for my expression, be it my series inspired from manuscripts, the sea bed, architecture as I saw from the window of Oxford, Nepal, Udaipur, the Godhra killings, or using dance and painting to establish a synergy. And these are experiences I will bring to this workshop to work on a new concept,” says Nayar, adding that there is a need to know the difference between an original and an off-set print, for the medium to be given its due.
Hanuman Kambli from Goa is looking forward to exploring new ideas with other artists and sharing his experiences of the work here at the workshop. For Sukhwinder Singh, being here is a homecoming, as this is the college where Singh, now a national awardee, learnt printmaking. Puppets is a theme and form which is prominent in Singh’s work and here he will explore it through the process of etching.
The workshop is on from 10 am to 5 pm till November 7 and slide shows will be held by guest printmakers at 4.30 pm in the auditorium of the College of Art.