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Art lessons in skills of past

Art enthusiasts and students got an opportunity to learn skills such as bamboo craft, pottery, Urdu calligraphy, bookbinding and stamp-making

By Chandreyee Ghose in Calcutta
  • Published 9.09.19, 3:24 AM
  • Updated 9.09.19, 3:24 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Urdu calligraphy artist Usman Ghani teaches students some fonts at a workshop in Art Rickshaw in Hindustan Park. Picture by Shuvo Roychaudhury

Chitpore’s craft came to an art studio in Hindusthan Park on Saturday.

Art enthusiasts and students from all over the city got an opportunity to learn skills such as bamboo craft, pottery, Urdu calligraphy, bookbinding and stamp-making in a series of weekend workshops organised by Art Rickshaw and The Community Art Project.

The workshops were aimed at encouraging collaborations between artisans and their students.

“Not many have come forward to learn bookbinding from me in the past,” said Panchanan Boral, 66, of Singur, who has been running a bookbinding shop in Chitpore for the past 35 years. Boral has been binding books, pads and registers since he was 16. Today he has few clients.

Manabendra Sil of Dutta Rubber in Chitpore once supplied rubber stamps to the State Bank of India, among others. “My 125-year-old shop will close down after me. Earlier, I would make the stamps myself. It required skill and precision. Now, machines make them and it does not require as much skill,” Sil said.

Both Sil and Boral were happy to teach their skills to others and were open to newer collaborations.

Saturday’s workshop began with Urdu calligraphy artist Usman Ghani teaching participants how to write with a flair.

Ghani used paint and handmade wooden calligraphy pens to write in different fonts — Arabic Naskh, Jeddah Urdu and trade font. “Ninety per cent of my students know Urdu and want to learn calligraphy for trade and advertorials. Ten per cent want to learn it as an art,” said Ghani, who teaches at the West Bengal Urdu Academy.

Devanshi Rungta of Art Rickshaw said the workshop was meant to open up new opportunities for the artists as well.