Sunday, June 22, 2014

Kolkata Home studio

Hello people! It feels surreal to be blogging after almost a year here. First of all, I owe a huge apology to all of you patient readers, those who have written to me asking when am I going to come back to blogging and all of you who may have silently followed this page all this while. This post is my warm invitation for you to enjoy what a part of me has been dedicatedly honing ~ my modest workspace in our Kolkata home that is filled with memories and little things that make me tick ~ my favourite artists, core inspirations, souvenirs collected from our travels over the years, books and, of course, my art supplies.
Bienvenue: Textile patches collected over the years from our travels embellish and add bold Indian colours to the otherwise white entrance door. Hand-embroidered patches collected from the Lambani (gypsy) women of Karnataka were picked up at the Anjuna flea market in Goa way back when we lived in Mumbai. Kutch needle work on bags and potlis, vintage tribal textile panels from the Hmong province in China (that I found online) add the bohemian touch and some are fond reminders of some very fun India trips.
Years of living in Switzerland with the strictest apartment-wall-drilling regulations kept us from hanging wall art. I have been collecting over time ~ hoping to be able to surround myself with works from my Guru and fellow artists someday! The result is this black and white wall, with works from Sir (Ramen Kastha, my printmaking mentor), a woodcut from his Guru Pinaki Barua, digital printed calendar from Maheswari Janarthanan and a stunning charcoal drawing crow print that was a gift from the amazing Priya Sebastian.
Here is a closer look at images from the respective artists' websites.
Another artist/photographer/blogger (who is also my collector now, yay!) who I had to keep close to me is Archana Srinivas. Her blog posts from India kept alive the smells of jasmines and frangipani, the swirls of steam over chai and the warmth of the Indian sun on red tiled floors from thousands of miles away, even when we were cold ensconced in the Swiss snow. I brought home several of her beautiful photograph prints, for me, her imagery is alive with soul :) (click here to visit her flickr and see the original). This is her 'Lamp of Faith' print (of course with the reflection on the frame).
This antique porcelain Tara statuette and the Lithograph were lucky finds in a Kolkata store. Kali was the first commission that I worked on for several months in this studio and books on the Goddess steadily made their way into my studio during that time. (My next post will be on the Kali commission)
Saraswati print by Raja Ravi Varma. On my table sits an ArtnLight lotus pond tray by another artist/blogger I love and admire ~ Vineeta Nair. She has been a huge inspiration & support  over the years. The coloured bird paper cutters are finds from a flea market in Geneva.
The Mahogany armoire ~ a blessing from my beautiful Thamma (grandmother). The drawing table arrived from our ancestral home as a housewarming gift from parents :) - it has a beautiful lotus bud motif that is hiding under the table cloth at the moment. I would paint on this on my recent trips there, delightful to have it here. The parrot on one corner was a birthday gift from my mentor - he tucked a paintbrush into it's beaks and it came all the way from Bangladesh! 
This elaborate Burma teak antique bookshelf was serendipity in one of the old furniture bazaars here in Kolkata. We fell in love with the two dancing fairies with very Bengali faces on the top half moon. It temporarily housed my modest doll collection - which eventually moved to the two studio wall shelves.
 It is the little things that make the biggest difference ~ the smell of dhuni and jasmines, the warm glow of the setting Sun over the city, the melody of the kokeel, the sweet Kolkata breeze from the Southern windows, the warm balconies flooded with blessings on Full moon nights.
This post cannot be complete without a photograph of the first painting that was born here ~ of the Universal Cosmic Mother ~ Maa Kali. (Photograph from a photo shoot at my studio for Indigo by Byloom, Kolkata). I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did making it. Thank you for your benevolent support. Love and Light, Dithi.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

'Kalighat' & Lithography

My first printmaking work post our return to India is dedicated to the one place so close to my heart - the place where a new path unfolded, a place that inspires me relentlessly, given me my Maa, my Guru, my Karma and healed me from the core - Kalighat. Here are some snaps from the neighbourhood and from the process in the studio.


Title: Kalighat
Medium: Polyester Lithography (9 plates) and screen print
Size: Paper: 38 cm x 28 cm; Image: 28 cm x 20 cm (app.)
Edition of 9 prints
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Home coming

Many of you have been writing to me saying that it has been a long break since my last post and that I should get back soon. Here I am, finally! For those who do not follow my Facebook page and, therefore, don't know - I moved back from Switzerland to India in April. It was a lot of work wrapping up 6 years in Europe and now some more setting up a new nest in the mad Bangla land. In the middle of all the chaos, i seem to be exploring a dream, in the city where a soulmate says 'Dithi, this is where your soul is complete' ~ Kolkata. 

The skies shimmering happiness, the streets singing red and saffron, am home now!

I did start work at Sir's Kalighat studio (Gravura) in April itself and have just completed a 10 plate Lithograph yesterday (up next). For now, I am sharing with you my little song of coming home, in Tota has flown back, the dates in the last couple of years that were crucial in finally getting her back are inscribed in Bengali on the canvas. The text says 'Bari Phera' (coming back home).

(Acrylic on canvas, 21cm x 21cm / app. 8 inches x 8 inches) 
If this painting sings to you, send me a note at