I am an artist printmaker producing original botanical relief prints. I predominantly create linocuts made by carving my drawings on traditional lino and Japanese vinyl cutting surfaces using specialist carving tools, inking with oil-based printmaking inks and printing by hand or with an etching press.

Since May 2018 to date, I have been working on the Garden Plants of Kenya series of linocuts based on my nine-month trip to equatorial Kenya. Immersing myself in my printmaking practice for professional development has led to submissions to open call exhibitions in Kenya and England.

As a printmaker with 15 years’ experience of teaching with museums and arts organisations, I wanted to revisit my printmaking practice to build a body of work around a subject about which I feel incredibly passionate. Spending my formative years in Kenya and visiting annually has given me the valuable opportunity of observing, connecting with and absorbing the surrounding natural beauty found within urban, back-garden flora. Exploring the concept of “what translates as a sense of home, place and comfort?”, by looking at natural light and colour transformations on commonly found plants dotted amidst the red soil, dappled by equatorial day and dusk light, sits within working from life studies or from my photographic collection accompanied with colour studies.

My method of working up a reduction linocut print begins with an initial, loose plan of the colours and number of layers involved. The print then evolves naturally as layers are built up from light to dark or taking them down again from dark to light. Some linocut prints incorporate a monotype technique of inking up the blocks as in a painterly approach, blending colours directly on the lino block, resulting as unique prints within an edition. The colour palette is often exaggerated to reflect the glowing equatorial light and its luminosity on plants, enhancing the vibrancy of their colours.

Linocut as a technique lends itself to structure and form in this series through its rigidity, while allowing to convey linear details. Building variations of colour tones into each layer of a print in the reduction method allows for observations of natural light to be detailed. Intentional choices are made when selecting the type of block to work with and which type of paper to print on. Each to compliment the plant in its form, within its landscape.

The Garden Plants of Kenya has since given birth to a series of prints which have enabled me to develop and revive my individual skill, technique and style. In doing so, I achieved the runner up award at Loughborough’s Sock Gallery Open Call 2019 exhibition with my Darling Hibiscus linocut print submission.

More recently, I received an Honourable Mention Award with Circle Foundation for the Arts, Kenya, with my Golden Shower linocut print submission to their Art Ideal Magazine Contest 2020, and achieved Commended for the same print with my submission to Teesside Print Prize 20.

Mandeep Dhadialla.