“In places like universities, where everyone talks too rationally, it is necessary for a kind of enchanter to appear”.
Formal art education in India was instituted with much the same intent as higher education in all other streams of learning: to create a resource base for the colonists to draw upon. During the nationalist awakening alternative centres for art education were set up which played a vital role in the evolution of modern art in India. Post independence, the colonial system of art education, as practiced in the art colleges of British lineage, gradually became decadent, rusty and out-of-synch with the times. Even those schools of art that were set up as alternatives to the British institutes lost their sheen and shine with the passing away or retirement of the pioneer-educators who were at the helm or those who inspired generations of students. At several meetings of contemporary academics at the artVarta office, what surfaced again and again was the lack of charismatic teachers today, those capable of putting minds on fire; visionaries to propel the art colleges into the future and bring about a perceptible difference. With the art market looking more positive than say a decade ago, the “enchanters” have possibly retreated to their studios.
However there are still a few firebrands trying to rekindle the tired flame. Educators who believe in a paradigm shift, who are proponents of a new visual culture. We have, in this issue one such academic as our guest editor. We sincerely thank artist-teacher writer Indrapramit Roy for his help in putting together this issue of artVarta.
Indrapramit Roy graduated from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan, with printmaking as his major and left for Baroda to join the MVA course in painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts, Sayajirao University in Baroda. He has shown extensively in Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai in group and solo exhibitions. He is a recipient of the Kanoria Centre Fellowship, the Inlaks Fellowship to study at RCA, London, the Junior Research Fellowship from the Government of India and most recently the Fulbright Fellowship. An avid illustrator, Indrapramit designs books for children and young adults. His recent illustrations include ‘Antigone’, ‘King Oedipus’, ‘Bacchae’ and ‘Hippolytus’: four retellings of Greek tragedies. ‘Antigone’ won the best book design award in New York Book Fair, in 2002 and ‘Bacchae’ got the Association of American Museum Publishers’ Award in 2005. ‘Hungry Lion’ published by Annick press, Canada won the Alcuin Award in 1998. As a writer he has contributed to art magazines and written for exhibition catalogues. He has also designed stage for Bohurupee– the oldest non-profit theatre group in India. Since 1995 Indrapramit has been teaching painting at his alma mater Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU of Baroda.
With his wide experience and interests he has indeed been able to value-add immensely to the focus of this issue: art education.
Focus apart, we have the usual fare to keep you updated on art events and shows around the country and in London as well.
We have extensively listed the art institutes in India for those who wish to pursue a course in art. We hope it will be useful.