7 February - 20 March, 2010

Delhi Art Gallery, Delhi

This exhibition charts the journey of the printmaking medium in India from its beginnings in the 16th century when visiting Portuguese settlers and Jesuits brought with them a printing press, through the intervening centuries when it saw great success under British colonial rule, the evolving form of the medium over the eventful 20th century, to the present-day.

The first-ever comprehensive survey of the history of the print in India, the exhibition records in minute detail the medium’s journey over four centuries. Beginning with the use of the printmaking medium as a tool of the colonial enterprise to its rapid expansion and success in the printing industry in the 18th century, the exhibition, curated by artist and scholar Dr. Paula Sengupta, examines the entry of the Indian bazaar print, both in the hands of the artisan and the art school-trained artist; the changes in themes, techniques and aesthetic necessitated by the imperative of modernism, whose first seeds were sown in Santiniketan and Calcutta and seen in the works of stalwarts Ramendranath Chakravorty, Gaganendranath Tagore and Haren Das; the subsequent expansion of printmaking to various regional art centres spread across the country; and the increasing presence of technology in printmaking. These centres, with their ongoing European influences, have produced at least two generations of gifted printmakers, among them illustrious names such as Jyoti Bhatt, Krishna Reddy, Kanwal Krishna and Jagmohan Chopra, with the younger lot represented by Anupam Sud and R. Palaniappan.

The exhibition presents these in an engaging chronological narrative that examines the myriad influences of time, regions, history, culture, as well as techniques, on the changing face of the print in India. The accompanying twin volumes by Dr. Paula Sengupta also feature an essay by artist-scholar Subba Ghosh, and a foreword by art writer Pranabranjan Ray. This pictorial narrative presents nearly four hundred artworks by over a hundred and fifty artist printmakers, and will be of value to the art lover and scholar alike.

Text by Paula Sengupta.

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