Lipi Biswas

Arts Collaboration

Grant Period: Over one year

The seed of the project emerges from an ongoing collaboration between Lipi Biswas and Bidyut Roy, urban visual artists, and tribal and folk artisans. This project  focused on pottery and ceramics. Lipi and Bidyut plan to touch base with other potters through Chunku, Bhim and Sudarshan to conduct a series of workshops in their villages. Videos, books and visual material of pottery traditions and crafts from cultures around the world were made available for reference and discussions.

In the collaborative project the urban artists learned from the tribal and folk potters their instinctive ways of arriving at the form, shape, and volume of pots, the making of indigenous glazes from locally available material, and the technique of making huge cylinders. In return, they shared with tribal and folk potters scientific methods of preparing clay and working on potter's pedestal. The urban potters also introduced chemical glazes, and teach them how to fire pots at high temperatures.

The project was an attempt to reduce gaps between the practices of tribal, folk and urban potters. Lipi feels there is a need to create a sense of responsibility in the urban psyche towards respecting tribal and folk arts, and to accommodate it in the contemporary arts scene.

In the collaboration they were more interested in the process than the quality of artistic outputs. Lipi and Bidyut have learnt local dialects of Bihar and Bengal and make it a point to use local terms while interacting with traditional artisans. Romantic in approach in expounding on the richness of tribal culture, they have also consciously distanced themselves from the eager romantic view of tribal life held by artists at Shantiniketan.

Collaborators: Chunko Besra, potter, village Boner Pukur Danga; Bhim Pandit, potter, village Kusma; Sudarshan Pal, potter, village Shialahi and Bidyut Roy