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Putting words to canvas

Indian artist Achyut Palav and German artist Katharina Pieper celebrate 25 years of friendship by showcasing their work in an exhibition that features 25 of their paintings, titled, Silver Calligraphy

Achyut Palav credits his teacher for helping him find his passion in school. "We used to have calligraphy sessions, which fuelled my interest in the subject," says the artist. Palav would go on to pursue the art form, aware that it wasn't well known at the time. "A man once asked me about the difference between calligraphy and sonography, so you can imagine," he says recalling an encounter in the '80s.


Calligraphic painting by Achyut Palav

Awareness campaign
He soldiered on anyway, visiting villages and schools where he would introduce children to the subject, and continues to do so till this day. The year 1986 proved to be a landmark one, as it marked the year in which Palav met calligraphy artist Katharina Pieper in Germany. Despite being separated by continents, the two kept in touch over the years, giving each other feedback on their designs and collaborating on several shows.


Calligraphic painting by Katherina Pieper

This year marks the 25th year or silver jubilee of their collaboration. Instead of hosting a party, Palav and Pieper are organising an exhibition of 25 paintings titled Silver Calligraphy. The exhibition will feature 12 acrylic-on-canvas paintings by each artist, as well as one joint work.

Palav's artworks focus on devanagari letters and sounds, while Pieper's vibrant paintings belong to the European contemporary genre and combine eastern and western motifs.

"I was attracted to calligraphy, thanks to a fascination for beautifully written letters. When I started practicing, I realised that it makes a difference to your personality," says Palav, adding, "It helps that it pays well these days."

Soul speak
Pieper incorporates eastern and western designs in her creations with the help of the Oriental brush and the western gestalt designs. "I travel a lot, visit museums and exhibitions, which provides fodder for my creations," says Pieper, adding, "I pour my soul into my creations, and since I love dance and music, it finds reflection in my work."

Future plans for Palav include experimenting with Chinese calligraphy, while Pieper plans to further dabble in Chinese and Japanese calligraphy.

Till: November 7, 11 am onwards
At: Nehru Centre, Worli.

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