Curator: Kristine Michael
Stories can give you a fundamental truth about life, contain archetypal symbols that help make us conscious of and curious about our origins and destiny and they capture a society's truths. create a shared history, linking people over time. Stories are not merely chronicles of what happened; they are more about meanings and often healing. As people talk about the past in a subjective and embellished way, the past is continually reconstructed. Our stories live in us forever. Visualizing a story so that others might see fragments of themselves is how artists and writers use figurative language to create imagery, a strong mental picture or sensation that goes beyond the literal meaning of image/words to communicate. The exhibition strives to re-introduce the narrative power of ceramics and printmaking through the works of artists who have gone beyond material and technique in their practice in order to communicate and reclaim repositories of stories, experiences and memories. They offer a potent alternative to the current state of alienation through object and mark making that reunite humanity’s past, present and future seamlessly.
Ceramic and printmaking is a discrete set of stories within the historiography of decoration and the creative narrative language. The rejection of ornament at the turn of the century by Adolf Loos dictated by the ideological environment around modernism introduced a dominant reductive trend in all genres. Ceramics and printmaking were both cast as vehicles of profound ornament and narrative imagery within the hierarchy of early 20th century visual culture. The decorative denoted the superfluous, the unessential, yet the surface itself is scored, carved, marked, incised, modeled and constructed into a system of signs where every mark is essential in its reading of the object and its story.
The storyteller is deep inside every one of us. The storyteller is always with us, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, re-create us when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the story teller, the dream maker, the myth maker that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best and at our most creative.
- Text by Kristine Michael
Ananda Moy Banerji
"My works have undergone many changes from the point of view of techniques and themes. I have always consciously sought to define myself as an artist with a constructive role to play in society and I believe that an artist’s role as an active commentator looks closely at structures of the society and the individual. Working for more than thirty years, when I see all my works together, I see that I have worked on human landscape, forms, behaviour and endeavour continuously.
The latest series, Multiple Encounters, is a conceptual and technical amalgamation. Print is a result of transfer of a surface to another and there is a multiplicity in the process. I find the same happening in our society where any relation is an encounter and multiple in nature. The growth of an artwork and travel of time and space is also a matter of existence in multiples. The use and intentional reuse of drawings and creating new forms is like a relation between one and other in our society. I find a tremendous relation between layers in my prints with layers in our society and time and space."
"I remember, as a young child, watching a village potter throw terracotta cups off a hand spun potters’ wheel and fearfully crouching over the wheel, while his fingers guided mine. I remember listening to stories about the gods and of the struggle for India’s freedom. Myth and memory merged in my mother’s telling and with each retelling they became a part of my everyday acquaintance. I remember watching my mother pray in front of her small shrine in our home, and adorn the baby Krishna idol with jewellery, clothes and flowers. I remember traveling across rural India as an environmental journalist, discovering my land as a young adult. These memories and the constant confrontation with contradiction, which is a part of everyday living in India, have an influence on my work.
While the written word and ideas fascinate me, clay allows me to explore subliminal and oftentimes not easily articulated intuitions in a tactile and visual way. My “yalis”, as I refer to my figurative sculpture, begin to live for me and tell their stories in their living. Their stories reflect my search as they grapple with the modern and the ancient, the personal and the universal, the male and the female, the east and the west, the spiritual and the profane, the rational and the intuitive, the animal and the human, the religious and the secular, and the political and the nonpartisan. My large figures with stylized human bodies and animal heads are made in paper clay. Patterns are sponged on much like a traditional textile block printer. I enjoy “dressing up” the yalis with garlands, mirrors, and ornaments used on cattle."
"The series ‘Rear Window’ is made up of many windows for many different people. It acknowledges the unique personality of each person depicted here but also talks of the common thread of humanity. Each composition here captures the essence of the person and becomes a template for storytelling. A reminder that in the ordinary there are nuances of extraordinary efforts made to sustain this wide big world. The fascination with the ordinary struggles which lead to a strong and bold outlook to life is what I try to portray. It is the spirit to survive and give meaning to life, and is an attempt to reveal what has been hidden, to understand and then celebrate the uniqueness of each narrative. This is an acknowledgement of the spirit of being human and surviving, with all the odds against and all the joys that life has to offer.
Cacti and Flowers depict the duality and struggle in living, leading to an idea of balance. Each human being has their own circumstances and struggles, but whilst combating all issues, they arrive at a solution and make their own eco-system. In these woodcuts, I deliberately stuck to black and white. As the images had to appear as unfolding pages of a collective book. It could also be seen as peeking into the windows of so many people who could be living in the same building, the same city and yet, appreciative of their different struggles and obstacles. I wish to narrate these realities in my attempt to understand what shapes a human and follow their journey with their unique stories"
"Since my childhood, I have been interested in human behaviors and emotions, and I grew up seeing the makings of the idols of gods and goddesses by local artisans during Durga Puja and Deepawali. This interest cultivated the desire to learn art properly. In my college days, I learned the basics of pottery making, but because of my fascination with figurative works, I used to see human expressions and figures in pots whenever I broke pots to reuse the clay. Then I started to develop the pots into human figures.
My subject matter is Nature. I feel that getting outside is good for the soul. Through my artwork, I try to bring the outside in. While I make no attempt to portray actual plants or animals, I do want my creations to look like they could have lived or grown somewhere. Living with beautiful objects that pay tribute to the natural world reminds us to slow down and helps us reconnect with nature."
"Dushyant Patel’s work stands as a testament to his command over material and strive for perfection. Drawing his subject matter from cultural anecdotes, tales and his lived experiences, his visuals are developed with what is now his signature spin to these stories. The word play in his titles, traces its historicity to fables, folktalea, and cultural anecdotes, also helps devise his imagery.
He continually attempts to find elements that would enable his viewers to access his works by using widely known visual references and minimal use of symbols or metaphors. His attempt is not to fabricate stories of higher import but simply to represent the truth as he sees it. He questions various aspects of the social realm by utilizing humour as a shield, to understand his place in society. Sometimes sarcastic and often ironic, his work is a reflection of his experiences and thoughts occasionally occurring as questions and at other times as confessions."
G Reghu"Inspired by his own agricultural background, the Gandhian ideal of working with local materials, and a sense of India’s millions for whom life is a daily struggle, G. Reghu’s sculptures are made in stoneware clay or terracotta. Originally a potter by trade, his sculptures betray an intimate knowledge of the tactile process of modeling with clay and the use of the potter’s wheel. The figures employ traditional folk art iconography and motifs; the muted organic earth colours and a matte finish recall his Indian village roots. Indian philosophy sees the "body as a garment" weighing down the elusive spirit of human life. Reghu has taken this notion to its abstract extreme and his recent works display a playful grouping of women and children at leisure and in expressions of joyous celebration and wonder. Reghu transverses in his quest from well-defined regional images to a realm which includes the magical inter-play of myth and reality. He casts himself in the role of a village craftsman to reclaim lost territories of innocence and utopia."
"My work tells the story of Delhi's migrant daily wage workers, who work in harsh, often very hostile, environments. Our cities are built on the backs of their labour, but they cannot themselves afford a decent livelihood. To sustain a life for themselves and their families, far away from their own homes, they must rely on each other and their own resourcefulness and resilience. I draw my inspiration from the spirit of these working people who get little appreciation—and without whom nothing would work. I have tried to capture what I see every day as moments of their hope and despair, strength, and exhaustion. To my mind, clay is the perfect medium to tell their stories. It adapts to the forces that shape it, and at the end, like my subjects, can stand out as something inspiring, strong, and beautiful."
"Taking an overview of this gigantic world from an entirely different perspective from space, one wonders where we are, and the answer is nowhere! On this vast stretch of the universe, what is our identity? Two drops of dew in the ocean, or two specks of dust on the ground. How does one discuss me and my work in this global scenario? However, I believe that in the process of human evolution, there should be documentation of someone's ideas and thoughts, as well as the process itself, as part of the analysis for future generations.
As an artist I do documentation of my ideas, thoughts, and the creative process as thought flows to form a visual. According to me visuals thus formed are not a work of art, but a mere documentation of my feelings, ideas, and thoughts. Enjoying the process of generating the visual is the work of art, but not the visual itself. Visual is the document of that time."
Sarban Chowdhury"I explore forms, repetitions, time-worn textures, images, and texts through clay. I see my work as a diary. It is a place for me to write down the feelings I normally keep for myself. Everything that I observe and experience around me somehow seeps into my subconscious mind and eventually reflects in my work. I prefer to introspect, explore, and analyse my own self which gives me an understanding of the human mind- its emotions, desires, and complications. I am constantly searching for a fresh perspective and prefer to have an unconventional approach towards the medium. I endeavour to create a visual that is imbued with inherent enigma and evokes viewer’s interaction which begs to be explored and examined in much the same way a child investigates the world with wonder, curiosity, unease, and trepidation."
"The language of printmaking has been a primary means of expression for me. It involves discipline and precision, and the process itself is mysterious and magical. I like to portray life with satire and present it in a story-telling and theatrical manner. I use animal allegory to poke fun at my own culture and my own foibles. My personal nostalgic journey is a confluence of mysteries and dichotomies existentially depicting the symbolism of Goan characters. My compositions have many women who are the principal characters. They are like the ancient ‘Yakshis’ of Indian sculpture, and I have incorporated them into this "modern" world. They are dressed nicely in contemporary modern outfits and current fashion.
The images could also be interpreted as narrations of life in old Goa, which was under Portuguese sovereignty for a long period and influenced by western modernity as it entered Goa’s lifestyle, which determined its culture, identity, religion, habits, and class. "
"I am a storyteller.
My works are a combination of form and narration. Inspiration for my practice stems from my longstanding curiosity about human behaviour, my observation of daily life & the funny ways of society. There has been a strong influence of Pop Art and Picasso’s work in my art practice; hence, some of their artistic streaks might be visible in mine too. I often use ceramic as a medium because it allows me to sculpt, draw, and paint all in one medium. I like to maintain a balance between form and concept.
I believe art has the power to be used as a social tool; thus, my works are a whimsical satire addressing the long-lived patriarchy and its pressures on all genders. It is my belief, art can confront gender norms and socially created ideas of gender through its visual representations. Through my work, I aim to deconstruct gender identity and break down stereotypical binary roles."
"I feel that the human body can be seen as a microcosm of the city, with each body system representing a different aspect of the urban landscape. For example, the skeletal system could be seen as the city's infrastructure, providing support and structure for the rest of the body. The circulatory system could be seen as the city's transportation network, moving people and goods around the urban landscape. The nervous system could be seen as the city's communication network, connecting people and businesses. This is how I interpret the relationship between human body structure and urban structure as up to the individual. Living in the capital of India, structural urbanization always comes first in my mind."
"While engrossed in the process of creating an artwork, the essence of the idea in the mind’s eye alters itself by transforming it into the visual. While playing among the possibilities of different mediums in art, I try to transcend & expand the limitations of definite meaning as well as the possibilities of visual representation. Like in etching, where accidental effects can be deliberately achieved, ceramic adds to the uniqueness of my self-expression. After mastering the etching technique, I tried to achieve spontaneity by breaking the limitations of size and colour and attempting similar effects.
The content is expressed through solid forms and negative formless space as the expression moves from two-dimensional to three-dimensional. A habitat with minimalistic structures, men and women in a unique arrangement, and indications of inevitable man-made materialistic objects appear in my work. With distinct textures, deeply carved lines like those made by etching plates, and painterly use of colour, I have expressed my intended meaning in these sculptures."
About the Artist
ANANDA MOY BANERJI
Anandamoy Banerji graduated from Delhi College of Art, Delhi and Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan, with a research associateship in autographic printmaking from Camberwell College of Art and Craft, UK. A practising artist since 1980. He has worked in various mediums and techniques and participated widely both nationally and internationally in countries such as the U.S.A, UK, France, Norway, Russia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Bangladesh, Egypt, and China to name a few.
He is the recipient of many awards including, the National Academy Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, A.I.F.A.C.S, New Delhi, Charles Wallace India Award, and Nagasawa Art Park Project Award. His works are in collections of many major galleries, institutions and museums in various countries including N.G.M.A, New Delhi. He has organised and participated in various art camps and workshops including Le Mois de Estampie, Paris, and various workshops organised by Lalit Kala Academy, Indian Printmakers Guild and Multiple Encounters, and other organizations. He is the founder member of the Indian Printmakers Guild, & Multiple Encounters Group.
Anandamoy Banerji lives and practices art in DELHI and NCR and is the Academic Dean / Vice Principal at – South Delhi Polytechnic for Women – New Delhi.
Anjani Khanna is a ceramic sculptor, curator and writer. She studied ceramics with Ray Meeker at the Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry and has been an artist-in-residence in the US, Europe, Australia, China and India. She is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva and is the co-founder and co-curator of the Indian Ceramics Triennale and a Director of the Contemporary Clay Foundation.
She is a recipient of several awards and fellowships, including grants from the India Foundation for the Arts, a Senior Fellowship from the Government of India and she is an Arthink South Asia Fellow. Anjani most recently was on the curatorial selection committee of the British Ceramics Biennial. She makes large-scale figurative sculptures. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally. Most recently, her work was exhibited as part of a four-museum tour in the US.
Chhering Negi was born in Kinnaur and graduated from Kala Bhavan Shantiniketan and Govt College of Art Chandigarh. He was recently awarded the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Open Hands Art Studio Award and is the Prafulla Kalanand Grant Awardee this year. In 2021, he was awarded in Abir First Take and the Bombay Art Society Colour of Independence as well as the Lalit Kala Grant scholarship, the Junior Fellowship by CCRT, Himachal Art and Culture Scholarship and the National Scholarship by HRD. He has participated in national art symposiums in Chandigarh, Surat and Delhi among others and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally.
Chhering Negi currently lives and works in New Delhi
Devesh Upadhyay spent his early life in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh and completed his BFA in pottery and MFA in ceramic sculpture from Banaras Hindu University. He was a gold medallist in both programs at the Faculty of Fine Arts BHU. In 2010 he was awarded the ‘Birla Academy Award’ for his first terracotta sculpture and in 2022 he received the National award from the Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi, for Ceramic Sculpture.
He participated in the Residency Program in Uttarayan Art Foundation for a year in Vadodara as well as at the Light Publications Ceramic Center and interacted with many national and international artists. He has participated in both solo and group shows and some national and International ceramic symposiums and workshops.
Devesh is based in Vadodara, Gujarat.
Dushyant Patel is a multidisciplinary artist, who works across painting and printmaking. He has pursued his undergraduate studies at the C.N. College of Fine Arts Ahmedabad and his post-diploma from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda.
His work has seen participation in many national and international exhibitions through various group and solo presentations like Rhapsody of Realities, Archer Art Gallery, Ahmedabad, The Print: Matter in Matrix, curated by Bhavna Kakar and Satyajit Dave, Latitude 28, Delhi, Seven Printmakers of Baroda Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, Bienala internațională de,gravura mica,graphium – Timișoara – Romania, Out of shadows, Pune Biennale, to name a few. Patel has also been a recipient of many awards such as the prestigious H R D fellowship in 2016, the prestigious H R D Scholarship Award, Gujarat State Lalit Kala Academy, Printmaking(Artist Category) Ahmedabad, amongst others.
Dushyant Patel lives and works in Baroda.
G Reghu was born in Kerala and completed his art education in Sculpture, College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, Kerala. He began with stone as a medium, and his sensibility gained direction after his contact with Elizabeth and Laurie Baker. Since 1988 he has had several solo shows and group shows and participated in several major art camps held in different parts of the country.
He worked for many years at Bharat Bhawan, Bhopal and was greatly influenced by J Swaminathan and his approach to tribal arts. Reghu has had many solo shows in the country and internationally. He is the recipient of the Award of Fourth Contemporary Indian Art Biennial at Bharat Bhavan and also the Award of Bombay Art Society, Mumbai. Other awards and recognition include the Scholarship Award from Roopankar, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal,and the Senior Fellowship from Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt. of India.
G Reghu lives and works in Bengaluru.
Madhur Sen is the founder of Blue Turtle Studio based in New Delhi. She is a member of AIC IAC- International Academy of Ceramics; ICAA- International Ceramic Artists Association, China and aTrustee of Indian Ceramic Art Foundation-ICAF.
She graduated from Delhi College of Arts in sculpture. She participated in many group shows in India and internationally such as International Ceramic Show, Tokoname; Emberarte, Spain; International Ceramic Forum, Zibo, China.
In 2018 she was awarded The Silver Plaque and an Honorable Mention for a theme-based exhibition/competition in Italy. In 2012 she organized ‘International Ceramic Forum’ in India, inviting 25 prominent international artists from nine countries.
She also co curated in 2019 the Uttarayan International ’Nothing Is As It Seems’ in Vadodara. Her recent group shows include Kutahya Dumlupinar University Fine Arts Faculty, and the Macsabal Silk Road, Turkey; Korea Online show ‘Harmony’ and the 2019 International Ceramic Art Exchange, Namwon, Korea. Her work is in private international collections in countries. She has taught ceramic art in a design institute for several years.
Madhur Sen lives and works in New Delhi.
Rajesh Pullarwar earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the J.J. School of Art. His work has been exhibited in national and international art shows as well as Biennales. He has presented solo exhibitions at Chatterjee & Lal, ART India Gallery, and Phillips Contemporary, in Mumbai, as well as group exhibitions at Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai and BCA gallery, Milan.
His works are in various public and private collections around the globe. Pullarwar is the founder of the International Print Exchange Program which facilitates an exchange of print works by several artists from around the world.
Rajesh Pullarwar lives and works in Mumbai.
Sarban Chowdhury graduated from Govt. College of Art & Craft, Kolkata with a major in Ceramic Art & Pottery. He was selected among top ten emerging artists by MASH India supported by KHOJ 2022 and selected for residency at Taoxichuan International Ceramic Studio, Jingdezhen China.
His recent awards include member of Artaxis organization, New Albany USA; Artdemic Award, Gujral Foundation New Delhi; Member of Centre of Contemporary Artists (COCA), Rome Italy; Honourable mention by Art for Change Foundation, New Delhi; Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation; Lalit Kala Akademi Travel Grant 2017 and the Prince Claus Fund Grant, Amsterdam.
Sarban has conducted many workshops for young students at Art Room programme with TARA, Artreach India Delhi and was visiting Artist at Pathways School, Gurgaon and Woodstock School, Mussoorie. He has held many solo and group shows both nationally and internationally.
Sarban currently lives and works in Jodhpur.
Shripad Gurav did his post graduation in Printmaking from Central University of Hyderabad and his BFA from Goa University. He has won many awards such as Honorable Mention Award in 1st Print Biennale India organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi; Goa State Award for Painting in Kalanand Art Contest of Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation; Junior Research Fellowship in Printmaking from H.R.D. Ministry of Culture India; Awarded for Etching in 34th and 33rd,37th Goa State Art Exhibition and the Gold Medal in Printmaking from Hyderabad University along with the Merit Scholarship.
He held his first solo show in 2020 in GOA, curated by Samira Sheth at The Project Café-Assagao.
Shripad Gurav lives and works in Goa.
Srinia Chowdhury has completed her Masters in Fine Arts with Bronze as her specialization at the Govt. College of Art and Craft, Kolkata. She also studied at Delhi College of Art. Early in her career, she participated in symposiums and residencies in Germany, Australia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland and a few others that have broadened her perspective and cultivated her artistic practice.
Srinia has recently received the very prestigious Jyotsna Bhatt Ceramics award for 2022 for which she is currently working on her new series “The Costume Party'' as a part of her project. The idea for the series was conceived at the Keramik Künstlerhaus in Neumünster, Germany, earlier this year in April 2022. Some of her ceramic sculptures proudly sit at some prestigious museums across the world with the Mark Rothko Art Center being the most recent museum to collect her work.
Srinia works and lives in New Delhi.
Suvajit Mondal was born in Howrah, West Bengal and as a child always had an inclination towards creative expression. He completed his Bachelors in Fine Arts from Govt. College of Art & Craft, Kolkata and Masters in Fine Arts from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan in 2015.
He was awarded a National Scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and selected for a student exchange program at Burapha University in Thailand which widened his environment and the interaction with the world. In 2015, he was awarded the 56th National Award at Lalit Kala Academy in New Delhi. Suvajit Mondal lives and works in New Delhi.
Vishakha Apte graduated from JJ School of Art majoring in painting. However she is better known as a printmaker and ceramicist. She has been awarded among others the Maharashtra State Art Exhibition, Krishna Reddy Award, Honourable Mention in International Print Biennial, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal; Camlin Art Foundation Award, Research Grant, Lalit Kala Akademi and the Senior Fellowship, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. In 2002, she was selected to visit various Museums in France and U.K. under Camlin Art Foundation’s Euro Art Tour.
She has exhibited widely both internationally and nationally in solo and group shows, namely Grafinnova, Vaasa, Finland; 1st Mostra Internacional de Mini Gravura,Vitoria, Brazil; Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial; Tama Art University, Japan; and the 7th International Exhibition of Engraving, Versailles, France. Her works are in collections of National Gallery of Modern Art and Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi;Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal; Ostrobothnian Museum, Vaasa, Finland and the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture, Cairo.
Vishakha lives and works in Bhopal and Mumbai.
Singing The Body Electric: Narratives in Ceramic and Print