Written by Shubhra Prakash
In 2017 I began interviewing my uncle Rajeev Prakash Khare about his work as a typographer, font designer and calligrapher. In the past two years, I have heard him recount and share with me his journey as an artist. His fascination with Indian letterforms, that began at a very young age, holding on to that fascination and making the decision to pursue arts, having the opportunity to immerse in learning his craft in an iconic place that is Benares and experiencing the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur who wanted to place Indian languages at the forefront without compromising on their aesthetics, when digitisation of text became inevitable.
He created a software VSOFT, that produced Indian letterforms on the computer long before Google translate was around. The challenges of an artist trying to make it as an entrepreneur, an artist who must incessantly figure out the balance of art and commerce has been engrossing for me. As a theatre artist I envisioned this story for the stage and have used the interviewing and documentary theatre techniques from my training with Ping Chong and Company. However telling the story of a visual artist / entrepreneur allowed for exploration through more mediums.
Fontwala is now shaping up to be an experience that is finding its voice through a digital exhibition, a documentary and as originally intended, a live performance in the theatre.
We will be exhibiting at the only digital art gallery of its kind in all of New Delhi. Kaleidoscope Digital Art Gallery sits in the vibrant and beautifully designed Triveni Kala Sangam, a haven for visual artists, musicians, dancers, sculptors and many enthusiasts of these disciplines. Upon entering the building, once you have looked into the exhibitions of visual artists on the right, peeked into the sculpture courtyard on the left and entered the hallway, where an amphitheatre on your right catches your eye with its pristine green grass on the stairs that make up the seats, you may altogether miss KDA if you are not careful. If you land in the cafe, you’ve gone too far. Right before the cafe to the left are stairs that take you down to a humble space with six to seven screens where several artists in the past year have presented work they explored via digital medium. To me KDA in this atmosphere is quite symbolic. One must go looking for it or if you run into it, you will find an entirely different arts experience than all the rest in the building. Here we will present the journey of the letterform. Calligraphy and concept by Rajeev Prakash Khare, animation and video editing by me.
Details are here :
Kaleidoscope Digital Art is excited to present
Fontwala: Stone To Mobile, What Remains?
by Rajeev Prakash Khare and Shubhra Prakash
from 27 July to 17 August 2019 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Sundays closed)
at KDA, Triveni Kala Sangam 205, Tansen Marg, Mandi House,
New Delhi 110001.
A show that surveys the development of Devnagri script from it’s earliest stone engravings to its digital adaptations. The show explores the journey of the Indian letterform, specifically through Devnagri script. It investigates what is lost and what remains from times when legacies were written in stone and metal to the present; when the complex letterforms of Indian languages found their presence on various technical mediums after the development of the unicode. Through Khare’s perspective and experience as a typeface designer and calligrapher, the exhibit reflects on the pioneers who maintained the aesthetics of the letterform, the challenges experienced in transition from one medium to another; and the possibilities that lie ahead for the letterform and a call for technical adjustments to accommodate the legacy of notable Indian scripts.