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Bangladeshi prints amazing: Ajit Seal

43Ajit Seal, a noted Indian artist and also graphic arts teacher at the Visva Bharati University, said he was surprised to see the superior quality of the works of Bangladeshi printmakers.
Ajit came to Bangladesh on a three-day visit to conduct a demonstration of plate lithography printmaking during an exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The exhibition, titled The End is Where it Begins, was held in June 16-30.
New Age caught up with the artist to know how he views the present condition of printmaking in Bangladesh.
‘I am surprised to see the evolution of printmaking that was highlighted at the show. The contemporary printmakers are really doing a good job,’ said Ajit, following his two-day demonstration of plate lithography.
‘Bangladeshi printmakers are tone-perfect, realistic and academic whereas Indian printmakers are more prone to experimentations.’
Around 50 enthusiasts took lessons from the artist who helped them understand the use of plate lithography techniques. ‘I think plate lithography should actually be called platography, since here the plate replaces litho (stone). The technique is easy and produces wonderful prints,’ said Ajit, an associate professor of graphic arts at Visva Bharati University.
On the debate about artistic superiority of painting over printmaking, he said, ‘It’s an unfortunate debate. There should be no discrimination between the two forms of art based on their artistic values. It’s true that prints are cheaper in terms of price because one work can have multiple prints, but I think we can make prints more acceptable if we expose them more to the art lovers and collectors,’ he said.
The 57-year-old also thinks that printmakers, fine arts institutes and the studios should all make a concerted effort to further popularise printmaking as an art form.
Ajit works mostly in ‘platography’ and etching, and also in painting. He prefers acrylic and watercolour over other mediums. So far, he has 10 solo and many group exhibitions to his credit. He has also received a number of prestigious awards.