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A flair for prints

Several veteran and young artists participated in the national printmaking camp held in the city

Senior artists A.P. Paneerselvam, Prof. Pinaki Barua and P. Perumal at the national printmaking camp

IN RECENT times the art of printmaking and ceramics have gained currency due to the efforts of government agencies such as the Lalit Kala Akademi and a few private institutions. More number of students are now opting for these subjects, even though they may not be as popular as painting. Many of the artists paint to make money, while they take up printmaking for the love of it. Printmaking or graphic art comprises etching, engraving, serigraphy, lithography, woodcut and linocut. According to senior artist A.P. Pannerselvam, "printmaking is a time consuming art; though we can make even a hundred prints out of a single etched plate, people don't want to buy something which someone else might own. It is not like a painting, which would be one of a kind. But still we take up graphics for the challenge that it gives us."

Panneerselvam is one of the artists who took part in the national printmaking camp organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi and the Akademi's Chennai centre, in the city from March 14 to 21. The participants at the camp included senior artists such as Prof. Pinaki Barua, head of Department of Graphics, Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan, P. Perumal, a former teacher of printmaking at the College of Fine Arts, Chennai, Gopal Dutt Sharma, former teacher at the Lucknow College of Arts, Premalatha Seshadri, young teachers such as Madhukar Munde of J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, Sanjeev Kishore Gautam, Agra, Sunil Darji, Baroda, Vinay Sharma, Jaipur, graphics instructor from Bangalore University V. Harisha, award winning art directors Thota Tharani and M. Jayakumar, besides Suneel Mamdapur, Bangalore and Vishaka Apte, Bhopal.

Colourful printing

It was obvious that all the participants enjoyed the camp, though they had to work late into the night to finish two prints within a week. Except Vinay Sharma, who did silkscreen printing (serigraphy), the others opted for etching.Though busy in their profession as art directors, Thota Tharani and Jayakumar enthusiastically participated in the camp. "Anyone who depends on line for expression would find printmaking interesting and I feel happy coming back to it after a gap of several years," said Jayakumar.Professor Pinaki Barua, an experienced printmaker and teacher, made three plates at the camp, in which he combined etching and engraving. Engraving is not too popular since it is time-consuming and demanding. Barua enjoyed the challenge posed by the plate. Sometimes unexpected results occurred, making the final print more interesting. Madhukar Munde, who has had exposure to this art in the UK, depicted the search for freedom by rural and urban couples. The multicoloured prints obtained by viscosity process had attractive but sober colours, the deep shades like the blue of the banner adding depth. Artist Gautam is also interested in acting and history besides being attracted by colours of Nature, which led him to take up painting. His themes combine the classic and the modern; in one of his works, his self-portrait resembles poet Kalidasa, while in the other, he has a contemporary image. A committed artist in total control of his medium, he prefers to make large prints expressing the feelings of a common man — his expectations, desires, and disappointments.

Young Sunil Mamdapur is fond of the little bird he picked up from the garden. In his print of a bird's cage, he depicts the sky with clouds.

Making more than one plate for the colourful print, his work shows perfect registration. Suneel Darji usually does etching, linocuts and woodcuts in black and white.

Gopal Dutt Sharma is experienced in several areas of art such as painting, murals, ceramic and graphics. He has many awards to his credit. P. Perumal is a veteran in printmaking and his creations at the camp depicted rural scenes. Premalatha Seshadri etched her favourite subject — birds, formed purely out of lines.


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