May 18, 2018 – Mid Day
“The significance of this succinct introduction to the book Twenty Five Linocuts by Rani Chanda (then Dey) becomes even greater when the writer of this note is Rabindranath Tagore.
“I AM glad to introduce to the public Miss Rani Dey, a student of the art department of Santiniketan. She has real artistic talent, as is evident in these lino prints done by her showing genuine feeling for her subjects and natural skill in execution.” The significance of this succinct introduction to the book Twenty Five Linocuts by Rani Chanda (then Dey) becomes even greater when the writer of this note is Rabindranath Tagore.
Tagore played an important role in introducing print in the dialogue of Indian art. Prints from Bengal: Modernism in Colonial India is an exhibition that will offer a glimpse of the print works of Chanda, Mukul Dey, Gaganendranath Tagore, Ramendranath Chakravorty and Ramkinkar Baij. The exhibition has travelled to Mumbai, after its first showing at Galerie 88 in Kolkata.
“Over 30 years in the gallery, and being born and brought up in Kolkata, I know the importance of these print makers in Indian art. That’s why I wanted to show Mumbai what happened 100 years ago,” says Supriya Banerjee, director, Galerie 88. The artists lived through a period charged with the Swadeshi movement and colonial oppression. Their styles are differentiated by the region they worked out of in Bengal. Gaganendranath’s critical and humourous works will find resonance with today’s audience. But his style was very different from that of Baij, Chanda and Dey, who were inspired by the quieter environs of Santiniketan.
“Gaganendra’s works were influenced by the British School of Art. Tagore sent Mukul [Dey] to the Royal College of Art, London, to learn the process of printmaking, but he was also a student of Santiniketan. Tagore also admitted Dey’s sister Rani [Chanda] to Visva Bharati. All of them had an influence on each other’s work. Dey, Chanda and Baij were part of the Bichitra Club and explored different kinds of painting and printing in Santiniketan in the same period. The young generation today might not even know about these prints, and this exhibition can serve as an introduction,” Banerjee signs off…”