Kolkata-based Emami Chisel Art has announced the launch of its first quarterly art magazine ‘Art Etc’ . The magazine will be launched in the capital on July 14, 2009 at Kaustubh Auditorium, Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan, 35, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi.
Emami Chisel Art, one of the biggest auction houses in India is a joint venture between Emami Group and Chisel Crafts, the parent company of the Kolkata-based Aakriti Art Gallery.
Says Vikram Bachhawat, Director, Emami Chisel Art: “Emami Chisel Art Pvt Ltd started as an auction house with a promise that it will diversify in terms of publications, a library, art camps, seminars etc and we are happy that we have kept that promise. Most importantly, Kolkata needed an art magazine and by publishing Art Etc, a quarterly art magazine, we have fulfilled our promise in just a year and ahalf’stime. The magazine will represent every form of art like cinema, fashion, photography, architecture, music and also cater to the needs of the entire country’s various artistic expressions.”
During the colonial period, the entire discourse of modern Indian art had its roots in Bengal and was backed by art historical writings. It was in this period that prolific art writing by people from various disciplines like the poets, writers, scientists, philosophers, architects and even artist themselves contributed in a major way for the development of modern art in Bengal. Ananda Coomaraswamy, E. B. Havell, Stella Kramrisch, George Birdwood and Okakura all came from abroad and became partners/collaborators of this movement.
In 1874, art writing in Bengal had a distinct idealist strain but as things progressed, Bengal art writing took to a materialist approach. There were hardly art magazines as such then but magazines like Modern Review, Prabashi, Bharat Barsha, Sundaram, Parichoy and various other periodicals published articles that contained art criticism and writings on art which created debates/discussions on Kolkata’s artistic practices. Though sparse exhibition catalogue writing was quite popular, however, there was a big vacuum in critical writing. Also, in the mean time the very nature of art history and art criticism changed drastically all over the world.
Hence, it is after a long hiatus that an art magazine from Kolkata has been published which has a nation-wide representation of editorial content. Art Etc aims to publish articles both on modern and contemporary art. The inaugural issue contains a special focus on the works of a Bangladeshi artist, Dhali Al Mamoon, who has faced extraordinary difficult situations in his own country to undertake a secularist position and a major article on artist N.S. Harsha. Apart from reviews, interviews, essays on art and profiles of artists who live and work on the margins, it has a special section on young artists’ works from all over India.
Says Amit Mukhopadhyay, Editor, ArtEtc: “Even though we had a great tradition of art and art historical/critical writing, Kolkata needed an art magazine where a number of young artist’s works could be discussed, creative writing could be encouraged and artists’ practices in Kolkata and elsewhere could be supported. There is a feeling that Kolkata is perhaps a bit away from the global stream affectivities and I think it is our responsibility to take a step forward towards building a global consciousness about art, culture and society. Art Etc goes along the philosophical thinking of Rabindranath Tagore who even though a Bengali believed in Internationalism. In other words, the matter may be published from the Eastern part of India but, it will certainly look after the artistic interest of the neglected and marginalized art practices in North-Eastern states and will never remain a local or regional magazine. It will aspire to be one of the best magazines of the country as well as the world.”
Concludes Vikram Bachhawat, Director, Emami Chisel Art: “We are putting in our best efforts to make Art Etc a magazine of international standard, in the sense that it will have articles and essays from international art critics and theoreticians representing global art forms.”
The inaugural issue has articles contributed by Oindrilla Maity on Aakriti Art Gallery’s annual show – Gen Next III, interview with art collector Sri Prasant Tulsyan by Sarmistha Maiti, soliloquy by Manjari Chakravarti, reviews of Sharmila Samant’s show at the Biennale of Sydney in 2008 by M.K Thompson and Gulam Mohammed Sheikh by Deeptha Achar. While Syed Manzoorul Islam brings forward the art of Bangladeshi artist Dhali Al Mamoon, Jayati Mukherjee writes about the multiplicity of art practices in Vadodara. On one hand Rajashree Biswal examines the Dalit issue in art represented by Savi Savarkar, a neo-Buddhist himself, while on the other hand Moushumi Khandali explores the contemporary art practices of the North-East ravaged by violence. The issue also contains profiles of several young artists and a history of the Emami Chisel Art Auction House.
The magazine, a colour spread of 132 pages is priced at Rs. 150 and can be purchased in Delhi through Vadehra Art Gallery, Arts Of the Earth and Rahul & Art galleries.