It took me a long time to decide from where I should start this post.
My last visit to Shantiniketan has changed my
point of view of looking at an Artist.
I have so much respect for each one of them whether
he is a small flute-maker or a big painter.
My small attempt here to promote handicrafts and artists in our country
makes me feel part of it 🙂
Shantiniketan is known for giving us
legends like Rabindranath Tagore, Amartya Sen, Somnath Hore
KG Subramanyan, Satyajit Ray and many more.
It was my biggest fortune that
I got to visit Kala Bhavan that evening.
I had only two days in the town
but after knowing about Kala Bhavan, I just couldn’t stop myself
from going there.
Once again, Nevine was my company and the person who could take me inside the premises.
I can’t thank her enough.
Kala Bhavan, is considered one of the best Art Institution in the World.
Established by Rabindranath Tagore, this college is the leading example of our cultural history.
There are many historically important buildings at Kala Bhawan.
The Design Department exterior has been painted entirely in black and white by renowned artist K.G. Subramanyan and his students.
With the artist’s depiction of birds and animals, making it a most striking edifice as well as a very important structure indeed.
He painted this house in 2010-11 : ‘Rarh‘
K. G. Subramanyan is one of the pioneers of Indian modern art.
The turning point of his life, as an artist, came when he visited Shantiniketan to study in
Kala Bhavan, the art faculty of Visva Bharati University, in the year 1944.
He was the part of Quit India Movement with Gandhi ji and went to prison also.
In 1980, Subramanyan went back to Shantiniketan to teach in his alma mater Kala Bhavan,
Visva Bharati University, in his capacity as a professor in painting,
which he continued till he retired in 1989.
In the same year he was made a Professor Emeritus of Visva Bharati.
There are also a number of murals in relief by the artist cum sculptor Somnath Hore,
which lie open to the elements.
Somnath Hore was an Bengali sculptor and printmaker.
Hore learned the methods and nuances of printmaking, mainly lithography and intaglio, at the Government College of Art and Craft in Calcutta.
Hore invented and developed various printmaking techniques of his own, including his famous pulp-print technique, which he used in the critically acclaimed
Wounds series of prints.
You can read more on this series on
Following the death of the artist in 2006,
Gopal Krishna Gandhi wrote in the newspaper Telegraph,
“Somnath Hore was more than an artist.
He was a witness of the human drama but a witness with a skill that translated
his witnessing into art.
In an age when secularism, socialism and peace can be seen- or rubbished- as shibboleths,
he knew them to be vital needs.
In times when art can become a play-thing of drawing rooms and auction halls, he kept it close to its springs-his human sensibility.”
He is prominently represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
Last but the least, I was honoured to meet
Sir Ajit Seal
there that evening.
He is the student of revered printmaker Somnath Hore.
In the cold evening, he was working in his office waiting for us.
He was so generous to allow me to take pictures
in the printmaking department.
Ajit Seal, known for the velvety softness of his lithographic prints,
the respected Shantiniketan educator keeps a low profile in India’s more commercially
orientated art environments, though his works are quietly handled by a number of galleries
in India and abroad.
I got to see one of his work from the very first stage to the final print.
At present, Mr. Seal is the faculty member of the Graphic Department, Kala Bhavan.
He lives in Shantiniketan only.
He showed us more of his work, and allowed me to take pictures.
This Department is pretty old and
I was so overwhelmed to see the old printing machines.
He also showed us some prints from the students, studying there.
Don’t forget, these are all hand done.
Do you know, what was the best part?
He gifted me one of the beautiful Etching print from the collection 😀
I’m going to have this framed for my Workshop.
You can read more about this department here
A Brief History of Printmaking
This experience of mine was just incomparable to
any other travel.
Got to learn so much and realized how much more I have to learn.
I hope you enjoyed this small part of my journey in Shantiniketan!