By Maitreyee Boruah, IANS,
Bangalore : A bus bay in this overcrowded city provided a rare sight – art aficionados admiring paintings at a bus bay and asking artists what motivates them to paint.
About 1,500 artists from Karnataka and other parts of the country displayed their works on both sides of the busy Kumara Krupa road near Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat (KCP), the state’s prominent art school-cum-gallery Sunday.
In its sixth consecutive edition, the annual art mart Chitra Santhe – Art for All redefines the way art has been perceived and viewed over the years. The art carnival is organised by the state-run KCP.
Dilip Kumar Biswas, a 34-year-old artist from Kolkata and alumnus of the renowned art school at Santiniketan in West Bengal, was excited about being able to display 14 of his works at the unique art fair.
“I heard a lot of good things about Chitra Santhe. I am happy to be here. I also sold a few of my works,” Biswas told IANS. He mostly paints in oil and acrylic.
Sonal D, a 20-year-old student of fine arts from Beynon & Smith Art College at Belgaum in north Karnataka, said the fair was an ideal platform for young and upcoming artists.
“Along with selling my art works, it is heartening to meet many struggling and talented artists from across India. This fair encourages and promotes the new generation of artists,” said Sonal, who put up six of her paintings at Chitra Santhe.
Ambarish Pavarty, a 25-year-old artist from Bangalore who participated in the Chitra Santhe for the third time, said the fair helped young artists gain confidence.
“Last year I sold 15 of my paintings for Rs.10,000. I hope to make the same amount this year too as people are enthusiastic about buying art works here,” said Ambarish.
“In view of greater participation by connoisseurs, the business should be around Rs.10.5 million (Rs.1.5 crore) this year in spite of the global recession casting its shadow,” said Chitra Santhe chairman Harish J. Padmanabha.
Last year, the art fest generated Rs.10.2 million (Rs.1.2 crore) business.
Artists do not pay any fee to participate in the annual fair. To encourage artists from across the country to take part, KCP arranges free lodging for them.
The art fiesta, choc-a-bloc with paintings and cartoon works, attracted a steady stream of people since it was thrown open at 9 a.m. and concluded at 7 p.m.
Portrait artists also had a field day, with a dozen of them drawing portraits of 80 aficionados, charging Rs.300-Rs.500 a piece. However, the fest has its critics.
“It is a cheap way of commercialising art by selling paintings by the roadside. It demeans the value of art works and the fraternity,” said a senior artist who wished not to be named.
Defending the idea of exhibiting art works on the roadside, KCP officials said the art fair serves as a platform to young artists to show their works.
“Many participating artists are young and upcoming in the 18-35 age group. They can’t afford to display their works at expensive galleries,” said R.H. Kulkarni, teacher of art history at the College of Fine Arts run by KCP.
“Their works are sold at affordable prices. It does not demean valuing art itself,” he asserted.
According to British tourist Elizabeth Simon, a visitor at the fair, the concept is unique and most of the art works were beautiful.
“I bought a painting at Rs.5,000. It’s an amazing piece of Hindu god Ganesha. I am taking back the painting as a souvenir from India,” Elizabeth noted.
Bank executive Seema Hussain said the fair gave many little-known talented artists exposure.
“I am visiting the fair for the second time. Excellent art works are exhibited here. Kudos to Chitra Santhe,” said Seema.