By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) In the quiet Lalit Kala Akademi headquarters here, preparations are underway for the second edition of the International Print Biennale, a major exhibition of global printmaking, which is slated for February-March 2020, and has a special focus on ASEAN and SAARC nations with Poland as the guest country.
The first eight-member ‘steering committee’ meeting, that officially set the ball rolling for the month-long Biennale, took place earlier this month with Akademi chairperson Uttam Pacharne helming it.
The ASEAN and SAARC focus will be reflected in the Biennale entrance fee for the artists, and participants from these member-nations will pay around $21 (Rs 1,500) as compared to $50 (Rs 3,400), a Lalit Kala Akademi official told IANS, adding that the subsidised fee is to encourage more entries from these regions.
For Indian artists, the entrance fee would be Rs 1,000. The star of the Biennale is, however, the central European country of Poland, which has a rich tradition of printmaking.
The intent is to get high-quality works from a country that can set examples for others in this visual art medium, the official said.
“Around the 15th century, Mughal Emperor Jahangir had a lot of etchings in his portfolio. Then, during our freedom struggle, printmaker Chittaprosad Bhattacharya made woodcuts of images of the independence movement and spread it using book covers,” Avni Bansal, a printmaker and a Lalit Kala awardee assisting the Biennale programme, said.
She added that in most regional centres of the Akademi, equipment for making prints — lithographs, woodcuts, intaglio, serigraphs, and relief prints — is present and is being upgraded.
As a precursor to the second print biennale, national artist camps will take place in Hyderabad and Santiniketan in West Bengal.
Polish artists will also be invited to conduct printmaking workshops before and during the Biennale.
The artist-members of this year’s steering committee include Jin Sook Shinde, Kanchan Chander, Hanuman Kambli, Dattatraya Bankar, Chippa Sudhakar, V. Nagdas, Ajit Seal and Dilip Tamuli.
The first edition of the international Biennale, that kickstarted in March 2018, saw participation from 17 countries including the US, the UK, Sri Lanka, Italy, Mexico, China, Israel, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, Argentina, Greece, Nepal, Bangladesh and Mauritius.
The number of entries at the international level were 137 of which 50 artists were selected, and 73 of their prints were on display.
For Indian artists, around 150 were chosen out of 988 entries, an official statement said.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected])