Kanchan Chander’s treasured memory of her teacher Sud: I was in her first batch of printmaking students at College of Art, Delhi, and fondly recall how she would simultaneously teach and work on her zinc plate. We would often visit her studio, where she responded to our queries as we observed her work. She encouraged each of us to experiment. I still remember an instance when she got a collagraph plate to the class. I did not enjoy the medium, so I walked out and did not attend her class for almost a week, thinking I will return when another subject is introduced. But then, she found me in the canteen, where I was eating bread pakoras, and handed me an etching plate, telling me I should attend classes. She loved me and I loved her. I owe my interest in the medium to her.
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Sud’s favourite work of Chander
Anupam Sud was always very sensitive to issues around her and this work has two women in conversation, pouring their hearts out. I think I saw her work on it as her student. A rather sensuous etching, what makes it exemplary is how she has used the contrast between dark and light, the subtle background, perfection of the figures, their posture and the moment captured.
In conversation with Sud
Chander: You are one of the finest printmakers of India but you are equally technically sound in painting, where you explore strong subjects. Could you talk about the transition?
Sud: An artist remains an artist. There is a constant desire to create and my capacity to draw was strong — drawing is required for painting, printmaking, sculpture and all forms of art. I did my diploma in painting but since I was enticed by black and white, there was a gradual shift from painting to printmaking. Printmaking is like quicksand, you get sucked into it. I survived for some time but due to health issues printmaking became challenging. So I went back to colour, picked brushes and started painting again. As an artist, you yearn to create and painting was easier. Now, I pursue both mediums.
How do you manage to pull out prints at this age without help? It is very laborious. Any advice that you would give young printmakers to survive?
Printmaking requires a huge setup and it’s a very tedious medium. It does break your bones at times! For any artist, discipline is the foremost, reverence is second. Once you start bringing commerce into it, then you bring in corruption. Evaluate your work with quality rather than what is selling. It is tough to survive but if one makes a compromise one never reaches anywhere.
Do you miss your students?
At times I have been challenged by my students and I have been loved by them too. On other occasions, my students have feared me as I was slightly strict – I strongly believe in discipline. In music, there is riyaz and so it is in art as well. One has to worship their profession and I always convey this to my students. My studio was like a temple where my students would come to worship the medium.
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