Blandine Roques Gallery presents Kalamkari from yesterday and today. This is a cotton canvas, hand-painted using Kalam, bamboo strips complemented by a cloth that serves as a container for vegetable coloring. “Kalam” means pen and “kari” means art or hand.
A traditional pictorial art, kalamkari still lives on in South India. The craftsmen work for a Master where they ensure the production of unique works. A virtuoso draftsman, Guru deals freehand and lives on canvas with major themes of Hindu mythology. Freehand drawing requires a long apprenticeship, be it technical, artistic, or religious. You must know how to draw by heart and know the code of representation, drawing inspiration from ancient mythology that permeates everyday life.
The kalam design outlines the pattern in black or red, which will be filled with flat areas of color. Each kalamkari is a unique piece, freehand traced and colored. It is presented either as a scientific comic book, or in recurring but always unique images (gods, tree of life or decorations laden with birds and flowers).
The collection presented by Catherine Baillaud is complete: “In 2004, my husband went to India. He saw the misery, the ravages of AIDS and set up a treatment center with Indians. A meeting place, women wanted to attract poverty. For twelve years, six months a year, we went to India, attracted the best great masters who initiated a dozen women drawing on canvas. These women were, for the most part, untouchable from caste, half of them never went to school. They in turn created wonderful drawing schools” .
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