Artist Orijit Sen Returns to Kochi as Workshop Leader

Orijit Sen

Kochi: Drawing upon his experience as a multi-disciplinary artist, Orijit Sen, whose 1994 publication is considered to be India’s first graphic novel, is mentoring young artists as part of a workshop organised by Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) at Pepper House here.

The workshop, one of the many under KBF’s ongoing Master Practice Studios programme, attempts to chronicle lives of Kochi’s people through the genre of non-fiction graphic art. Eleven art practitioners, from different Indian cities, have been selected for the workshop.

The open studio, where Sen and his students will present the work they have completed over the past month, got underway on August 8 and will run through August 18.

“The workshop aims to focus on creating visual narratives through the development of both story-making craft as well as non-textual knowledge,” said Sen, who added that the participating artists are involved in studio-based work as well as research in the community.

Besides Sen, the Master Practice Studios workshop will host a panel of prominent individuals in the field of graphic art towards the end of the programme. Participants of the workshop will get an opportunity to interact and seek critical feedback about their art from experienced graphic novelists and artists.

Participants of the workshop include Anjora Noronha, Amrita Barua, Shivangi Singh, Shromona Das, Kshiraja Krishnan, Sudharsha Subbiah, Ishita Sharma, Shaunak Samvatsar, Gaurav Sharma, Anupam Arunachalam, and Mohith Mohan.

“We selected nine interesting stories that represent real-life people – their daily life, struggles and triumphs in co-relation with the city. They are not heroic figures, yet their stories are captivating,” said the Goa-based artist, who explored Mattancherry, near Fort Kochi, in search of these narratives.

For Sen, documenting lives of Kochi’s people, instead of its history, was a conscious decision. “When a person visits any new city, they explore the place through its history, monuments and cultural anthropology. But most of us miss a very important aspect. A city is made by its people. The idea is to showcase the city through the eyes of its people, the protagonist of the story,” he said.