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Mark on Clay – Partha Dasgupta

An overview of a ceramics workshop organised by the Lalit Kala Kendra, Kolkata Regional centre Lalit Kala Akademi, the National Academy of Art, was set up in 1954 and acts as the Government’s apex cultural body in the field of visual arts in India. Central to the Akademi’s mission is the encouragement of a deeper understanding and enjoyment of modern and contemporary art by a diverse local, national and international audience. The Akademi is involved in a wide range of activities related to promoting Indian art and artists through programmes and strategic partnerships. It strongly focuses on shaping a future India in which art plays a meaningful role in everyday life. As a cultural body, encompassing the entire Indian subcontinent, it plays an important role to link diverse cultures of India to weave a magnificent cultural spread.

With all these missions at the front, the Regional Centre of the Academy, which was set as a multidisciplinary studio in 1984, at the 361, Keyatala Lane, arranged a Regional Ceramic Sculpture Workshop from 18 to 27 March, 2017. The 9 selected artists represent the Eastern and the North Eastern regions from the genre of Ceramics & Sculpture. Shyamal Roy, Tamal Bhattacharya, Sanjay Samanta,Shibram Das and the author himself were from West Bengal and Binoy Paul (Assam), Dazzle Nahakpam( Manipur), James Khamliansawma (Mizoram), Mantosh Debnath(Tripura)represent the North Eastern India.

The Eastern India did not have a long history of conscious ceramics practice. Basically the term focuses directly upon a medium which is indirect in expression and has a difference in vehicle artistic expression than painting, sculpture and graphics. Ceramics has an intense relation with words like circle, round, roundness and such as is present. To break the continuity of this definition and relation, contemporary ceramics had to surpass many obstacles. It has not been long that in India, only a handful of North Indians were known to be working in this medium and were self-glorified because of this fact. Definitely it is a matter of sheer joy that gradually ceramics started to carve out its own niche among the masses. But it was in the Eastern part of India that Ceramics came of age. This can be asserted with confidence. A lot of the credit can be given to institutions like Government College of Art and Craft, Visva Bharati etc.

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