Priti Paul introduced her first alphabetical art book ABC Desi at Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival

Posted by: at 1/17/2017 11:15:00 pm

Kolkata, 18 January, 2017: Entrepreneur, bookstore owner, writer, architect, designer and mother of three energetic young boys, Priti Paul introduced her first visionary illustrated art book ABC Desi at the first edition of Oxford Junior Literary Festival at the Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival today. The event also celebrated the arrival of Priti Paul’s niece Uma Kismat Paul who unveiled the book with her mother, Indrani Dasgupta Paul along with veteran educationist Sister Cyril. The evening also witnessed a specially curated interactive performance by well-known dancer Anita Ratnam, which was immensely enjoyed by the audience.

 “ABC Desi has emerged from my deep love for India, its incredible art forms and of course my love for children. I perceived the dearth of a good children’s book with an Indian background and cultural references that our children can relate to, and I have, in my own way tried to fill this void. I also consider it important to keep in mind the international influences that are inevitable - and desirable - in a globalized world, by working around the English Alphabet.
Anita Ratnam Performing
 Anita Ratnam Performing 
Bronwyn Latiff
 Bronwyn Latiff


Indrani Dasgupta Paul with Priti Paul
 Indrani Dasgupta Paul with Priti Paul

KARAN PAUL
 KARAN PAUL

Mrs. Shirin Paul
 Mrs. Shirin Paul

Priya Paul with Minister Sadhan Pande
 Priya Paul with Minister Sadhan Pande

Sr. Cyril
Sr. Cyril

Kolkata is the city where I grew up and where my roots are, there is nowhere else I would have launched my first book. Kolkata’s very own, Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival is the best platform I could have given ABC Desi.” said Priti Paul, author and creator of ABC Desi, at the occasion.


ABC Desi, a typical ABC book is given a charming new life through the revival of the almost lost Indian craft of billboard painting. An art form that has, until recently, been deeply connected with popular Indian culture — but today battles extinction with the onslaught of new media technologies. Today, as we revel in a uniquely “Make in India” moment ABC Desi is a perfect English alphabet book to teach little Indian children the English alphabet using a uniquely Indian vocabulary and set of images and style of rendering. Created from Priti’s many years of research, experience of reading to her 3 boys and her rooted Indian values, ABC Desi is a unique learning tool for children, and a whimsical yet precious object for the lover of all things Indian and beautiful.

Handcrafted, using various techniques, billboard artists skillfully recreatescenes, objects and portraiture from photographs and magazines, bringing the magic of Bollywood and the sycophancy of Indian politics to the masses on the street. Often, western themes are given a unique cultural stamp, resulting in pieces that are a mix of humour and irony, among the rich visual chaos of the bustling Indian streetscape. These vibrant graphics, an assault on the senses with their boundless colour palettes also serve as a window to fantasy and escapist entertainment.

An alphabet book with a distinct Indian Flavor, ABC Desi is an attempt to pique curiosity and appreciation for this unique art form in both children and adults across the globe. The book is a visual celebration and hopes to be a rich source of cultural reference and inspiration. The imperfection and flawed beauty of hand painted creations juxtaposed with bold typography and clean contemporary layouts, makes ABC Desi a unique learning tool for children.
By using this form of painting to illustrate the English alphabets Priti hopes to root the alphabets firmly in an Indian imagery. In addition, she hope to continue to support the work of the artists and to bring to a larger and global audience the drama, beauty and uniqueness of their work.


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About Ms. Priti Paul
Director, Apeejay Surrendra Group

Educated at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Architectural Association School of Architecture, UK, Royal Institute of British Architects, Priti Paul has been at the forefront of taking over the business of the century old Apeejay Surrendra Group post her father’s assassination in 1990. Since then, she has spearheaded the real estate division of the Group which included expanding the business of the Oxford Bookstore in India and abroad, launched India’s first gallery on new media art – Apeejay Media Gallery, conceptualized, designed and launched a range of projects in India and abroad and set up the London Office of Apeejay Shipping Limited.

Priti Paul, is also the creative force behind the iconic Oxford Bookstore, the best equipped 'base-camp' for journeys of the mind established in 1919. In 1995, on the Heritage store's platinum anniversary, the iconic store was refashioned as Oxford Bookstore - Gallery. Since then, she has made Oxford into India’s favourite bookstore, taking the Brand to unprecedented heights and across India. She is also the creator of ABC Desi, an alphabet book with a distinct Indian flavour, handcrafted using various techniques giving a charming new life to the typical ABC book, through the revival of the almost lost Indian craft of billboard painting. The book is a visual celebration and a rich source of cultural reference and inspiration.

She has also been at the forefront of education for children coming from economically weaker sections of the society which is manifested through the Apeejay Anand Children’s Library run for the benefit of street children.

Priti Paul is a member of prestigious organizations like Royal Institute of British Architects, Women in Shipping and Trade Association (WISTA), England, India Committee of American Bureau of Shipping, USA, FICCI Committee of Art and Business of Art, India, Harvard Club India, MIT Club India. In 2013, she was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctorate of Business Administration by the Rai University, India.
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