Embracing Handwork from the Good Old Days

Published: 17th December 2014 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th December 2014 06:02 AM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: With the sounds of hammering and the smell of terracotta, a group of over 50 students sit busy at a workshop, each working on a small panel each. All of the panels would come together to make a large mural. In the age, when computer graphics and multimedia are attracting students with futuristic promise, the handwork from the good old days is also being embraced by these students, who are studying visual communication.

The students participants in the two-day intercollegiate terracotta workshop ‘Rupkara’ at D G Vaishnav College, will learn the basics of terracotta from ceramist Portarasan who heads a workshop at DakshinaChitra. “The traditional arts like terracotta have their value. Terracotta adds a lot to the space where it is kept,” says Portrarasan. One of the few ceramists of the city, he says that although the art is very rare especially in Chennai, it is slowly coming back.

While the techniques and skills can be learnt from the artisans, Portarasan believes that the artists, who look to innovate add their value by new interpretations and experimentation with standard forms that the village artisans tend to do.

The terracotta murals will be done by the students after learning the technique and baked after two weeks. The end result would be in natural colours.

“There is still a lot of value for traditional arts which cannot be replaced, and lot of students want to learn it,” says G Vasanth, the head of the department of the Visual Communication. “With the idea of ‘defining images’, we want the students to use their creativity.” The workshop was inaugurated by Lakshmi Krishnamurthy, the head of the Department of Visual Arts, Kalakshetra Foundation. Krishnamurthy spoke to the students on the importance of learning from the past and the value that the knowledge of history adds to art.

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