Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 475 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (KCP) in Bengaluru recently hosted four exhibitions on art, titled SoulSpire 2020; Latent Heat; Icons of the Future; and This & That & More (see Part I of our coverage here).
Featured artists included Veena Rao, Malvika, Empe, Avinash Mokashe, Aniket Khupse, Mahesh Jadhav, K Mano, Vidya Prasad, Rudra Prasad, Sudheesh Pallissery, Preeti Kirikera, Laboni Chatterjee, and Shrabani Misra.
(Note: The photographs in this pictorial essay were taken before the national lockdown due to the coronavirus. The visit to the gallery was not in violation of any public safety guidelines.)
“Art if an extension of my self, encompassing all my life’s experiences, the beauty as I see it, and my soul search,” explains artist Veena Rao, in a chat with YourStory.
The coronavirus onslaught has been a tough time for artists, with its shock effect on society and closure of art galleries. “In such a testing time, I have had my share of struggle to find mental space for artwork. My artwork has given me renewed hope and has been there as a true soulmate,” Veena adds.
Describing her art style, Veena says she has an obsession towards symmetry. “However, it is the asymmetry that enhances its beauty and there is a continuum between them. This is the central theme of my style,” she explains. Her art is like a kaleidoscope that tries to showcase this interplay using geometrical objects and shades of black.
Veena began her artistic journey five years ago, and her 2020 exhibition is her first show. “I look forward to many more in coming years,” she enthuses. She also wants to work with children, especially in rural areas, and introduce art as a mode of expression.
As trends in the art movement in India, she sees art as being more inclusive. “Art has not fully leveraged the technology advancement in allied fields,” she adds.
“Success of my art is its ability to kindle interest or awaken nascent or abandoned passion in audiences,” Veena explains. At her art show, many housewives walked up to her to say that they would like to re-start their artwork.
For the KCP exhibition, Veena worked on concepts using digital tools, with themes inspired from nature and wildlife. Her artworks were priced from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000.
“There is no better price than to see my art being part of someone’s home. So, I would mostly leave it to the buyer to decide the price of my art. Of course, I do want to keep it affordable,” she adds.
She is working on more projects using digital tools and mixed media. “I continue to focus on ‘symmetry in asymmetry’ to portray myriads of patterns inspired from ‘Earth from above’ and the cosmos,” Veena adds.
She says she was pleased with the reception she received at the exhibition. “I did get a lot of positive feedback, especially about the style of my art. Many remarked that it was different and interesting. A couple from Scotland told me that my artwork reminded them of an art show of Bridget Riley they attended in London last year,” Veena proudly says.
She calls for more awareness about art in society. “Art appreciation depends on the awareness about art – historical or contemporary – and its cultural significance. Today, it needs a fresh introduction as a language to understand the socio-cultural values of our country,” Veena emphasises.
“Viewers are an integral part of an artist’s growth; they often act as a sounding board,” Veena adds. She urges viewers to be open to all styles of art. “They do not need to understand an artwork, but simply to behold its beauty,” she says.
“Life is fragile as well as beautiful. Celebrate every moment as much as it lasts,” Veena advises audience in her parting message.
She also offers words of advice for aspiring artists. “I would encourage aspiring youngsters to be bold and disruptive. Art, like other fields, needs to be infused with new experiments using modern day art materials or gadgets,” Veena sums up.
“I feel art is the exploration of the soul. Every artist starts from a ‘dot.’ They have to cross many hurdles to reach their goal, and to develop a unique style. It is all the combination of technique, themes, and messages,” explains Vidya Prasad, who is a tutor and a part-time artist.
She has participated in four group exhibitions at KCP in Bengaluru (including one called Exploreia), and in Mumbai and Delhi as well. She conducts workshops at Hongirana Fine Arts, for children and elders.
“Success is my view is an internal exploration. Amplifying our ideas counts much more than getting awards,” Vidya explains. She calls for the launch of more galleries to promote art for the public and to support artists.
Her artworks are priced from Rs 5,000 upward, and have been titled Garuda, Matsya, Mayura, Padma, and Chitrapatang. For example, the work named Garuda, being the vahana of Lord Vishnu, represents courage, self-awareness, and truth.
“The painting Chitrapatang (butterfly) indicates profound transformation from the inside out. It represents old ideas dying away, and a newer version presenting itself. It also gives the message of being light, and floating above earthly matters,” Vidya evocatively describes.
She too was pleased with the feedback at the KCP exhibition. “As artists, we would prefer the audience to spend at least five to ten minutes in front of a painting to get connected and to communicate with the painting,” Vidya explains.
To aspiring artists, she offers a few words of advice. “Dedicate yourself to art – eat and breathe art. Practise, practise, practise,” Vidya signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find ways to completely devote yourself to your creative core?
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