Lithography, a printmaking process, allows artists to retain the originality and freshness of their works. This is being popularised by the Lalit Kala Academy through the Surinder Chadha Memorial Lithography Exhibition at David Hall, Fort Kochi. Incidentally, Chadha was a famous lithographer.
In lithography, the artist paints onto a limestone and this is embossed on to a piece of paper. This art form was popular as a medium in the 1830’s where illustrations using stone lithography were common.
Lithography has been utilised by great European painters like Edouard Manet, Francisco de Goya and Pablo Picasso.
In the David Hall exhibition, renowned artists from all over India, like Ajit Seal, Querozito de Souza, Vijay Bagodi, Neeraj Singh and Ashok Kumar are taking part.
The works are mostly in monochrome, but there are some vibrant and colourful pieces. The themes include seduction and questions of identity.Vijay Bagodi has incorporated the horrors faced by women in his piece titled ‘16th Dec’. His work has been inspired by the highly publicised Delhi rape case.
The artist has painted a portrait of a young woman staring apprehensively into the torso-less face of a man. The picture is in monochrome tones signifying the dismal nature of events. “Lithography is part of our rich history, a traditional medium of printmaking,” said Bagodi.
Neeraj Singh’s work, ‘Seduction’, was a curious piece. It depicts the sensuous yet vaguely deceptive art of enticement. The background is dark with patches of orange and black clashing to create a conflict. In the midst of this, a hapless half-human creature falls into a fleshy pink slice of watermelon.
The exhibition is worth a watch, as lithography is witnessing a lot of growth. People are also slowly awakening to a call to go back to traditional methods of artistry. The paintings have a certain life about them. Each one is a representation of the myriad passions and forces that defines life. The exhibition concludes on April 14.
Mary Ann Alapatt, Atheetha George and Christy Antony