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Artist Laxma Goud’s printmaking initiative at Hyderabad’s State Art Gallery

Senior artist Laxma Goud with a team of artistes at the print-making studio at State Art gallery   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Hyderabad now has a printmaking studio at the State Art Gallery. Spread over 5,000 square feet, this studio, which is an initiative of senior artist Laxma Goud and a team of artists, functions as an open house for printmakers, students and art enthusiasts.

Divided into two parts, the creative workspace houses a printmaking machine (44x22 size) used for etching. Visitors can walk around — following safety protocols — observing and interacting with artists. The other half of the studio has paper and chemicals needed to wash the prints. While printmakers have to bring their tools, they may use the machine and the other materials for free.

This studio becomes an important platform to create awareness on printmaking, which is a unique process to print patterns on a surface/plate with the help of ink and pressure. Printmakers can create as many copies of this design where each print becomes an original and valuable too.

Influential artist Laxma Goud says this space facilitates not only the creativity of the community of printmakers but also artists practising other mediums, encouraging them to branch out and establish links with a larger audience. “After the disappearance of Lalit Kala Akademi (dissolved three decades ago by former Chief Minister NT Rama Rao), we had no common place where like-minded art friends could meet, collaborate and practice,” he says.

Senior artist Laxma Goud with a team of artistes at the print-making studio at State Art gallery

Senior artist Laxma Goud with a team of artistes at the print-making studio at State Art gallery   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Laxma is clearly delighted at this long-awaited wish coming true. He recalls meeting K Lakshmi, director of State Art Gallery at a party in January 2020 and speaking about the need for a space like this. A week later, she invited him to be a chief guest for an exhibition at the gallery. “On that day, we went to the second floor of the gallery where she asked me to cut a ribbon of an empty space and said ‘this is for an art hub’. I couldn’t believe it; it was thrilling!” shares the 80-year-old artist, adding even his friends called it ‘a next to impossible’ episode.

On January 23, the day after that inauguration, Laxma with the help of two friends, shifted a printmaking machine that had been lying in his garage for 40 years to the gallery. Artist Sumanto Chowdhury says 15 artists contributed money to buy material for the space.

Senior artist Laxma Goud with a team of artistes at the print-making studio at State Art gallery

Senior artist Laxma Goud with a team of artistes at the print-making studio at State Art gallery   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Laxma recalls an instance of being commissioned by a printmaking club in Germany. “They would commission artists from across the world to make prints which in turn were bought by German working professionals. People from Hyderabad can also experience art and own a print; but how will they have a desire to possess art unless they are exposed to it?” He hopes this new space will create an environment to foster interest in art.

Initially, around 50 artists used to gather to practice, but the gallery shut during lockdowns. It is now back in action. “It’s a golden opportunity to work here with the legend (Laxma),” says artist Nagesh Goud who learnt printmaking three decades ago at Arts College, Osmania University.

Senior artist Laxma Goud with a team of artistes at the print-making studio at State Art gallery

Senior artist Laxma Goud with a team of artistes at the print-making studio at State Art gallery   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

A number of established artists have been attracted to the space. Artist Hanumantha Rao Devulapalli’s forte may be canvas painting but he has been spending hours here. “Having learnt some techniques in a week, I feel like a new student.,” he smiles. Artist Laxman Aelay says he too enjoys the entire process, from drawing to print. “I am trying printmaking art after 25 years. It is a new experience,” he says.

Plans are afoot to branch out to lithography and ceramics, and even have an art shop in the gallery to sell what is produced at the studio, at a nominal price. If all goes according to plan, it won’t be long before you can walk into State Art Gallery and walk out with an affordable, bright Laxma Goud print.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 12:52:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/senior-artist-laxma-goud-on-the-printmaking-initiative-at-hyderabads-state-art-gallery/article35808521.ece

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