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Lalu Prasad Shaw was born in Siuri; district Birbhum in the year 1937. As he was growing up, a sudden incident changed the way he looked at life. From his house the workplace of the Malakars could be seen. They sculpted idols and drew several kinds of patas that were to be placed behind the idols of the gods. Gradually, an ambition to become an artist grew within him. Each day while returning from school, he picked up local colours in his hands and prepared to draw pictures according to the desires of his mind. When Shaw was in class VIII, Pinakinath Bhattacharya was appointed in his school as the art teacher. He often formed a troop with these students and went outdoors to draw the landscapes of the red soil. Though Shaw was passionate about art, he never thought of converting it into a profession. During the years of his adolescence, what most flaunted the Bengal art scene was the presence of Abanindranath and Gaganendranath's works. The monthly Basumati, Prabasi and Modern Review projected their works at regular intervals. Shaw updated himself with such works through these magazines, and he started copying those works. In 1967, he joined the 'Society of Contemporary Artists'. Artist Sanat Kar introduced him to graphic prints for the first time. Suhas Roy returned from Paris and taught Shaw the techniques of etching. Thus, he submerged himself, from 1966-1973, in the practice of printmaking. After joining the society he started concentrating on etching from 1967. He felt that his interest towards two-dimensionality increased manifold times. In parallel he also devoted his skills in developing the drama of chiaroscuro. His abstractions however were never diluted abstractions. His works were based on formative abstraction. Shaw cannot be understood without understanding his works in print. He worked constantly both in etching and lithography. He remained in the Society of Contemporary Artists to work in etching. Later in Santiniketan, he worked on lithographic prints. In 1973, under the able guidance of Somenath Hore, Shaw re-designed the department of printing at Kala Bhavana.


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