Art News & Views

Publication of Graphic Folio by the Members of Society of Contemporary Artists, 2010

Kolkata: The Society of Contemporary Artists (SCA) can be considered as the proud inheritors of the traditions of printmaking that began in Kolkata in the 19th century. Ajit Chakraborty, the notable printmaker, after his return from Czechoslovakia offered the members of SCA to use the studio at 157B Lenin Sarani where he had been working. The silent walls of this studio has been a witness to many a success story during this long 50 years. As Ajit Chakraborty had brought back a hundreds of etching, engraving, woodcut, lino and litho prints by latest printmakers of Czechoslovakia in 1961, they were displayed at the Artistry House Gallery. This had inspired the young artists of SCA of that time, who had gradually established themselves as remarkable printmakers of the country. They in their turn wanted to learn the latest technique of the medium. When Arun Bose, one of the founder member, came back from France, with more advanced knowledge, their works gained a new momentum. In 1964, the Society had its first prints' show at Chemould in Kolkata.

The Society started to run their workshop of printmaking after they managed to collect an etching press from a gentleman Jiben Sen, who returned from Poland learning the techniques of etching and carried a press from Poland. Afterwards the members fabricated another press with a financial grant from the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1963. Arun Bose, Suhas Roy, Somenath Hore, Shyamal Dutta Roy, Ajit Chakraborty, Amitabha Banerjee, Sanat Kar shared their knowledge and all the members were highly enthusiastic and experimented with different techniques. Later when a camp was organized in Delhi, where artists from all provinces were invited, the people as well as the resource persons, Prof. Paul Lingren, a graphic artist-teacher from USA too, marvelled at their expertise.

To mark their 25 years in 1985, SCA published thirty graphic albums, each containing twenty-five prints from their Dharmatala studio. The participants were Aditya Basak, Amitabha Banerjee, Anilbaran Saha, Ashoke Bhowmick, Bikash Bhattacharaya, B R Panesar, Dipak Banerjee, Dharmanarayan Dasgupta, Ganesh Haloi, Ganesh Pyne, Laloo Prasad Shaw, Manik Talukdar, Manu Parekh, Manoj Dutta, Pranabranjan Ray, Sadhan Chakraborty, Sailen Mitra,Sanat Kar, Somenath Hore, Shyamal Dutta Roy, Suhas Roy, Sunil Das, Sunil Kumar Das, Sushil Gupta.

In 2000 the Group commemorates its 40th year by releasing another graphic album of 24 artists, which includes B R Panesar, Amitabha Banerjee, Ajit Chakraborty, Sailen Mitra, Shyamal Dutta Roy, Arun Bose, Sanat Kar, Dipak Banerjee, Ganesh Haloi, Suhas Roy, Laloo Prasad Shaw, Sunil Das, Bikash Bhattacharaya, Niranjan Pradhan, Manu Parekh, Manik Talukdar, Sadhan Chakraborty, Sunil Kumar Das, Manoj Mitra, Aditya Basak, Bimal Kundu, Swapan Kumar Das, Manoj Dutta, and Pradip Moitra. This album was again published from their Dharmatala studio.

This year 2011 SCA is going to publish fifty Graphic Albums as a mark of their Golden Jubilee Celebration by their present 22 members.

The participants are Aditya Basak, Amitabha Banerjee, Atanu Bhattacharaya, Atin Basak, B R Panesar, Bimal Kundu, Dipak Banerjee, Ganesh Haloi, Kishore Chakraborty, Laloo Prasad Shaw, Manik Talukdar, Manoj Dutta, Manoj Mitra, Manu Parekh, Niranjan Pradhan, Partha Dasgupta, Pradip Moitra, Sadhan Chakraborty, Sanat Kar, Suhas Roy, Sunil Das, Sunil Kumar Das. Eminent printmakers like Atin Basak, Laloo Prasad Shaw, Sadhan Chakraborty, Atanu Bhattacharaya guided all the members many of whom are better known as painters and sculptors and took prints occasionally. The workshop is held at SCA's Kasba Gallery which is turned temporarily into a graphic studio. It is expected that the album will release by November 2011.

With all its contributions in the history of printmaking SCA can claim the credit for turning printmaking into a whole time creative activity and for making it as good as any other medium for creative expression.

Images Courtesy: SCA

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