In Part II of our photo essay on Chennai’s newest gallery, we showcase more art works along with career insights from the curator and artists.
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 245 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.
Chennai’s newest art gallery, ‘The Art,’ features an exhibition titled ‘New Beginning’ (see Part I of our photo essay here). The art works, by Raviram VR, Sunil Lohar, Pushpakaran Kadappath, Sunil Lal TR and Teppala Kodanda Rao, are priced from Rs 8,000 to Rs 1,10,000.
Curator Jitha Karthikeyan, based in Coimbatore, has been an artist for 10 years. “Being an artist also gives valuable insights as a curator. It helps sense the needs of the artist and organise around them,” she explained, in a chat with YourStory.
“While some people express themselves in words, artists express themselves visually. Art lets you tell your own story in your own unique language,” says Jitha. Artistic expression goes beyond talent and crafts. “Artists feel the need to express themselves through their medium, irrespective of whether the art can be featured in an exhibition,” she adds.
“As more art comes out into public spaces, audiences will feel less intimidated by art. Exposure to the unknown can make some people feel insecure, small, or even foolish, because they think they cannot understand it. But over time, art can appeal to and uplift everyone,” says Jitha.
Beyond commercial success, art is becoming more visible in the city due to the Chennai Art Fair as well as art installations in shopping centres such as Phoenix Mall and dining areas in hotels like Marriott. Events like the Kochi Biennale and the rise of art institutions and galleries in a number of cities are also good signs.
“New apartment owners are also looking to decorate their homes with art, which bodes well for the artist community,” explains Jitha. It certainly is a good time for arts, especially as there is more public engagement.
“Art is a wonderful subject, it gives you a real life and helps explore the soul,” says award-winning sculptor Raviram VR, who also teaches art and conducts workshops in his studio.
“People have started to see traditional art in modern themes. Students should be exposed to more of Indian art, and artists should work hard to keep our traditional arts and crafts alive. This world is rich in arts and every artist should contribute to that,” he advises.
Teppala Kondanda Rao observes many trends emerging in Indian art today, such as new media, photo realism, installation art, and traditional practices. “Creativity needs experimentation with new materials and attitudes, along with search and inquiry for discovering something new," he says. “Art is a reflection of life as well as exploration of the unknown. Aspiring artists must have passion, inspiration, love, and risk-taking ability.”
“Art is a responsibility to society,” says Sunil Lal TR from Wayanad, who draws inspiration from the tribes of the Paniyars in Kerala and features them in his interpretations of mythological works. “Tribal societies have been marginalised, and need more visibility and voice,” he adds. Some of his works also reflect a blend of male-female identities.
Sunil’s parents are teachers, and inculcated in him a love of beauty in handwriting; this eventually led him to follow an artistic career in dance and painting. “Success comes from originality and authenticity,” he signs off.
Now what you have done today to chart your own path, and tell your story in your own unique language?
Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!