As one walks into the Mehta Art Gallery in Varanasi, you cannot help but feel the drastic change in the atmosphere. Leaving the world of chaos behind, the environment inside is serene. The visitor is greeted with art works on canvas and mural pieces adorning the walls of the gallery.
A bunch of young artists, some passionate about art while some still art students at the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) have collaborated to give this art gallery its present-day look. Artists from Mahatma Kashi Vidyapeeth too have chosen this platform to promote their work.
A chat with Amit Kumar Mehta, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mehta Art Gallery, reveals more about this art destination. Amit took to the canvas while still very young. But it was in 2012 at the age of 24, that he got an opportunity to showcase his talent at an art exhibition held at Greater Noida. It was here that his work got appreciated by renowned artists who visited the exhibition. “There has been no looking back since then. I was inspired by the appreciation that came my way and have built on my strengths from that point,” says Amit.
In 2014, Amit started working on his dream project – the Mehta Art Gallery, and in October (around Diwali), the place was ready to be thrown open to visitors. A lot of work went into getting the basics right. Says Amit:
I started networking through the social media, primarily Facebook, with artists a couple of years before starting this project and currently 50 artists are displaying their works at this gallery.
The mural project
Tired of drab-looking walls? You can change that by logging in a request with Mehta Art Gallery. Their team of artists can change your wall into an astonishing piece of art. While individuals are free to ask for specific mural painting, the artists’ team at the gallery too chips in with their creative suggestions.
Within Varanasi city limits, there are no additional charges to be paid by the art aficionados. If the requirement is outside the Holy City, travel and accommodation charges need to be borne by the person calling them in. Find out more about their mural work here.
The revenue model
It’s a self-sustained model. Though the revenue varies, Amit says that it is adequate to support the artists. Many local artists sell their work here while visiting artists too are given space to display and sell their art. Also, revenue comes in through the mural projects.
The Mehta Art Gallery’s recent exhibition, Kathmandu to Kashi, in January was well received by the public. This exhibition also saw the participation of 15 Nepalese artists who had proudly put up their creations on the gallery walls. “It was a good opportunity, the idea behind it being to foster good ties between the two countries. We actually were able to showcase their talent in our country,” says Amit.
The road ahead
Given the response Amit and his team have been getting at Mehta Art Gallery, they are hoping to break even soon. Also, the number of artists coming in is slowly growing, which the organizers feel is a good sign.