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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

A life in art

On the ground floor, Imprints housed Shaw’s etchings, lithographs, lino prints, and serigraphs from 1976 to 2004. These works, far from being mere abstract designs, pulse with the life of Shaw’s printmaker sensibilities

Siddharth Sivakumar Published 25.05.24, 06:21 AM

Sourced by the Telegraph

At Galerie 88, the exhibition, Blossoms/Imprints, traced the artistic journey of Lalu Prasad Shaw, revealing his mastery in printmaking and tempera. Across two floors, the display captured the phases and facets of Shaw’s prolific career, inviting viewers into his world.

On the ground floor, Imprints housed Shaw’s etchings, lithographs, lino prints, and serigraphs from 1976 to 2004. These works, far from being mere abstract designs, pulse with the life of Shaw’s printmaker sensibilities. The untitled etchings from 1976 and 1977 demonstrate an intricate engagement with the medium, echoing his dual role as an academic and a practitioner. Shaw reconciles abstract tendencies with a figurative touch, etching pieces that speak volumes about his evolving vision.

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Climbing to the first floor, one entered Blossoms, where the Babu and Bibi series unfolded. These paintings portray the Bengali gentry with a delicate balance of satire and reverence. The women, draped in earth-toned taant sarees, their hair styled in traditional buns with hairpins, adorned with bangles and minimal makeup, inhabit a world that straddles domesticity and nature. Even in a genre of painting that celebrates colonial hangover, their simplicity still reflects the era’s understated elegance and cultural authenticity.

Born in 1937 in Birbhum, Shaw’s art integrates his rural and urban Bengal experiences. Influenced by local craftspeople and traditional art, his meticulous detailing owes much to village clay idol makers and his admiration for Gaganendranath and Abanindranath Tagore. His training at the Govern­ment College of Arts and Crafts in Calcutta and tenure at Kala Bhavana in Santiniketan enabled him to seamlessly blend Western techniques with indigenous themes, creating a unique artistic voice that connected him firmly to the contemporary cultural moment across mediums.

Blossoms/Imprints showcased Shaw’s technical prowess and his ability to capture subjects with a gaze that is both critical and affectionate. His deceptively simple images stand as some of the finest specimens from a pivotal period, affirming his enduring legacy in a rapidly changing art world.

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