After a long haitus, I’m back talking about a brilliant show currently being exhibited – PAPIER at Gallery Art Positive featuring nine outstanding artists from the Indian Subcontinent. Aisha A Hussain, Chetnaa, Ganesh Selvaraj, Gopika Chowfla, Jignesh Panchal, Sachin Tekade, Sachin George Sebastian, Sudipta Das and Shormii Chowdhury magically exalt one’s mind with just paper.
Invented by the Chinese in the 4th century this became a popular medium for crafts during celebrations in different cultures e.g. papel picado banners in Mexico, kirigami in Japan, papercut silhouettes in England during the Middle Ages and how can we forget the kite or lantern flying in Asia and South America. Infact, till just a decade or two ago there were many who’d indulge in hobbies such as scrapbooking, cardmaking, paper flowers, decoupage, paper mache, quilling, paper making, bookbinding, and paper layering. So as an offset to technology (seen even in art) I decided to interact with Sachin Tekade, a Pune based paper artist who chooses only pristine white paper to depict architectural and natural forms.
MD: What are your childhood memories?
ST: My childhood was spent in Karodi, a village near Akola district( Maharashtra). Like all village boys, I used play around the trees at the farm. We were engaged in agricultural activities…so it was pretty much a rural scene! Also art at that point was very different. I didn’t have any artistic insight as a child. We only had chalks and slates to draw. The first time I held a pencil was after my tenth grade.
MD: What is your design background?
ST: After the tenth standard I did Art Teachers Diploma. Later on discovered that there is an extensive art course. So went on to do Bachelor of Visual Arts from Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda (MSU). Had originally gone there to do Sculpture, but ended up taking up Applied Arts as the main subject. Lately realized, life brings you back to what you really love!
MD: What made you connect to paper art?
ST: During my Art Teachers Diploma days, I had an assignment on Paper Art which I loved the most….working with paper, then cutting and folding it. I excelled in the assignment and my teachers were more than happy. It kind of stayed with me and I kept on exploring paper from there on. To the extent that in those days there was no glass or paper mat so I cut paper on steel plates. After coming to Baroda, I continued those experiments but this time I could see a definite change as I had my teachers to guide me through.
MD: I noticed, you have used only white paper?
ST: I believe ’white’ is the colour that embraces purity, resonates inner peace and beauty of a soul. Its beauty lies in the simplicity, textural qualities, play of light and shadow when cut and folded.
MD: Since how long have you been exhibiting?
ST: I first exhibited in 2009. So is going to be a decade this year.
MD: Which medium excites you in art/craft?
ST: Different types of paper.
MD: Has the craft changed you as a person?
ST: Of course, when you are an artist it changes you as a person over a period of time, even though its a slow process. Have learnt to be patient and more observant.
MD: Which period has been important for paper art and where?
ST: I have honestly never researched the history of paper art. Do know there are a lot of contemporary artists who are passionately playing with paper. But I feel I am yet to explore the textural qualities of single (sheet) white paper to its fullest.
MD: What is your perception of Indian art, today?
ST: Today, I can’t say its purely Indian. Art has gone global. Lot of material and executional influences come from outside. Yes there are ‘Indian subjects’ like for instance Subodh Gupta’s Basket of Golden Cowdung Cakes. So I think there’s an amalgamation of mediums in today’s Indian art where the ideas come from our everyday lives.