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Making their mark

Making their mark

‘Microcosm- Macrocosm’, an exhibition of works by 40 artists who are part of the International Print Exchange Programme India will open on March 14 at Fundacao Oriente, Panaji. NT BUZZ finds out more

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

Artist and printmaker Rajesh Pullarwar enjoys exchanging artworks among his artist friends. “In this way, we exchange works on an aesthetic level rather than buying by paying the actual price,” he says. And it was this practice of his that gave him the idea of doing such an exchange on a larger scale and led to the founding of the International Print Exchange Programme India (IPEP). “I started this with the help of my international artist friends on social media. The first exhibition was held in my living room. Gradually many art galleries, institutions and museums came forward to exhibit the works,” he recalls.

Apart from giving artists an international platform to showcase their works, this initiative also serves as a way for artists to meet with like-minded creative people, to learn from and to be inspired by them.

Every year, IPEP India chooses a topic connected with global concerns and common universal experiences. Printmakers then send in their ideas, and those selected mail the final prints to IPEP which are then compiled as the year’s IPEP portfolio. Each participant receives one copy of this portfolio and exhibits it in their part of the world. They create discussions around the theme and technique as well as share its documentation. They can add the prints to their own collection or make profit from the sales.

Now in its sixth year, the programme has garnered a lot of interest. And thus to help it reach a larger audience, this time around, curators have been invited. And this is where artist curator Lina Vincent comes in. This year, Vincent has curated the art exhibition of the selected works titled ‘Microcosm- Macrocosm’ which will be exhibited at Fundacao Oriente from March 14 to April 13.

“My conceptualisation of ‘Microcosm-Macrocosm’ came about as a means of inviting artists to think about their relationship with the universe and all it contains,” says Vincent. Of around 230 applicants, 40 were selected by the jury as being interpretive of strong ideas and fluid visualisation. “The artists have visualised diverse interpretations of the act of building connections between the physical, cosmological, personal and imaginary worlds – some figurative, others moving towards non-representative depictions,” says Vincent. The dot, the circle or the sphere, is an element that has found many renditions in imagery, reiterating the deep subconscious link between the understanding of certain philosophies and the imagery they generate, regardless of place, age or culture, explains Vincent. “It has been very beautiful to recognise intuitive connections between works of such diversely located artists – Iceland, Mexico, Taiwan, India, and of course Portugal, among the 13 countries,” says Vincent.

Among these 40 artists, is Goan artist Rajan Fulari whose work ‘Soham’ explores the universal dynamism of life through symbolic expression of time, space and social structures.

And in fact Vincent believes that Goa has a remarkable legacy of printmakers right from K S Vishwambhara who worked on setting up the print department at the Goa College of Art, to Hanuman Kambli, Walter Desouza, Viraj Naik, Sachin Naik and others. “We also have a number of young artists working with printmaking like Ramdas Gadekar, Loretti Pinto, Karishma Desouza and Ryan Abreu, etc, who have expanded their visual languages through the medium,” she says. She also points out that the printmaking studio developed at Department of Culture, Patto Plaza (though not currently functional) is an excellently set up unit and has possibilities of large scale printmaking activity if rejuvenated.

And printmaking as an art form is also evolving with the times. “There is a movement among practitioners and followers of printmaking, towards an emphasis on inclusive practices and expansion of boundaries. It appears to be a period of transformation of an old and familiar language into new visual dialects responding to a changing contemporary scenario and advanced technologies,” she says. In this milieu of multiple forms of artist production, printmaking is also attempting to create space for a discourse beyond the economics of art, she further adds. “Despite being usually in a marginalised position, there have been several large scale national exhibitions over the last few years that significantly highlighted the medium. Experimental studios like Litho Lekha in Baroda and KONA in Mumbai have made space for innovative practices. Non-toxic and environmentally conscious methods have also come into use,” she says. And to bring more attention to this art form, awareness of the techniques and beauty of the handmade edition is the foremost necessity, she believes.

“We also need more community studios since the techniques require certain machinery like presses that all artists cannot afford to have privately,” she says and adds, “Additionally, if simple forms of printmaking like linocut and woodcut or stencil printing are introduced at the school level then children will grow with an awareness that drawing and painting are not the only forms of art.”

(The exhibition will open on March 14, 5.30 p.m. Pullarwar will also conduct a workshop on dry-point and woodcut on March 15, 6.30 p.m.)

 

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