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Vintage India on display

Artisans' is celebrating print works by Raja Ravi Varma and his successors as part of Ephemera 2015, an exhibition and sale of oleographs, offsets, chromolithographs and post cards

Iconic artist Raja Ravi Varma's interpretation of the divine has long been defining how we imagine Hindu deities to look like. While he created exquisite commissioned paintings, he also brought about a printing revolution where gods adorned everything from publicity calendars to soap ads.

Sri L N Shiyali Confectionary Ltd, Madras, Chromolithograph, 1938
Sri L N Shiyali Confectionary Ltd, Madras, Chromolithograph, 1938

For Ephemera 2015, Artisans' has curated 90 such pieces from across India by Ravi Varma and his successors. The pieces include chromolithographs, postcards, oleographs and offset prints that span the late 19th century to the mid-20th century.

Alembic Products by Unknown, Offset, published by Alembic Chemical Works Company Ltd, India, mid-20th century
Alembic Products by Unknown, Offset, published by Alembic Chemical Works Company Ltd, India, mid-20th century

These sacred prints were popular as they covered advertisements of consumer products, calendar art and even film posters, thus touching lives from different economic strata of the society. A big chunk of the pieces are calendars and advertisements from South India.

"The prints include early ads for hair oil from South India, Lux soap ads from the 1950s, and ads by pharma companies that trace the history of printing and promotional campaigns in India. Many prints that are influenced by Ravi Varma's style, are from Chennai (then Madras Presidency) and were distributed in Bombay and Karachi too," informs Radhi Parekh, director of Artisans'.

Till: July 18, 11 am to 7 pm
At: Artisans', 52-56 Dr VB Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda.
Call: 9820145397

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