“This is the tenth such exhibition in France and it will reach people from varied cultures in Paris”

A French couple has been studying Kalamkari art and the subtle changes in it as a prelude to an exhibition of Kalamkari art in Paris scheduled to be held on International AIDS Day. Andre Mage and his wife Catherine are planning an exhibition of Kalamkari work done in Pedana in comparison with that of the same art done in Srikalahasthi, in France.

“This is the tenth such exhibition in France and it will reach people from varied cultures in Paris. Of late, the saree is in great demand among Europeans who are using it for interior decoration,” Ms. Catherine told The Hindu.

A student of Kalamkari for over five years now, she is penning a book titled “Kalamkari and changes it has witnessed.” The book will also have accounts of her journey to India. The book will trace the birth, evolution and technical aspects of the art in different places in Andhra Pradesh. The fine arts teacher-turned-master Kalamkari artisan, Ms. Catherine, who had already taught the art form to 13 selected women students in Nellore district, will also teach the same to interested youths in her country.

Expressing anxiety over the recent changes in the Pedana Kalamkari art form – introduction of screen printing and use of chemical dyes – Mr. Andre said that countries, including Switzerland, were keen to host exhibitions to promote this art form.

Master craftsman and exporter of block making Kalamkari products Pitchuka Srinivas told The Hindu that the time had come for people to safeguard the art form, which was facing a few unwelcome changes due to the prevailing unhealthy competition. Help India Trust, France, Coordinator Perrine had a glimpse of the works and witnessed the fine traditional art in Pedana.