Printmaking takes centre stage with [email protected] in Odisha capital

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha capital is hosting the first-ever solo printmaking exhibition and on display are 70 artworks of Chaita Basu Jena.

This cumbersome process is used for creating multiple copies of a piece of art and only a few in the state continue to practice this form of artistic expression.

“Printmaking gained popularity during World War II when art connoisseurs looked for something easily accessible. You can call printmaking a democratic form of art, open and available to everyone,” said Ramhari Jena, Bhubaneswar-based artist and Chaita’s husband.

Put on display are printmaking forms like linocut, woodcut, and engraving that come under ‘relief printing’ in which a piece of paper is stamped with ink from the top surface of the plate. “The only difference in them is the surface used. Lithography and etching are other popular printmaking techniques,” he added.

To introduce this art form in Odisha, a printmaking studio was established at Lalit Kala Akademi in Bhubaneswar in 1988. “Chaita hails from Kolkata. We were both learning this art form there. After we tied the knot, she shifted to Bhubaneswar in 1990 and has been practising printmaking here for the last 30 years,” he said.

Chaita said Bhubaneswar felt home and has provided her all the opportunities she needed. “Initially I thought it would be difficult for me to continue printmaking here but before I shifted to Bhubaneswar, an entire studio was set up. The journey has been incredible,” she said.

Chaita has had various exhibitions of her printmaking across the globe and won accolades.

Ramhari further said printmaking is not very popular. “Printmaking is a non-commercial art form and artist have to do it independently. It is a time-consuming process, so one needs to be very patient. I think this is why it is not all-pervasive,” he added.

Echoing his views, Chaita said, “One needs to be very careful with it. Painting, in general, is quick and has a direct result but printmaking needs your attention for around 10-15 days and cannot be manipulated. The end result is worth the effort. If you’re passionate about it, you’ll find a way for doing this.”

Picture Courtesy: Suman Singh / Facebook

The exhibition was inaugurated yesterday and will continue till February 16.

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