‘Success is always finding new challenges to solve’ – Manjunath Kamath, Material Eye


This photo essay on the Gallery Sumukha exhibition explores diverse art styles, forms, and messages, along with expert insights on art as a career.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 235 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Founded by Premilla Baid, Gallery Sumukha in Bengaluru has been showcasing a diverse range of art by more than 100 artists over the past 20 years. The exhibition this month, curated by Meena Vari, is titled ‘Material Eye.’

The theme reflects the wide range of meanings in and beyond material objects. The exhibits by 16 artists include wood charcoal symbolising development at the cost of the environment, depictions of Indian ayahs in London a century ago, moving objects projected on walls, holographic digital art, drawings, and a melting ice block with the word ‘Future’ sculpted on it.

Featured artists are Cathy Lane, Ravikumar Kashi, Sumedh Rajendran, Vivek Vilasini, Gigi Scaria, Jagannath Panda, Shanthi Swaroopini, Sudarshan Shetty, Manjunath Kamath, Yashas Shetty, Baiju Parthan, Siddharth Kararwal, M. Shanthamani, Christina de Marchi, Rakhi Peswani, and Ayisha Abraham.

Ravikumar Kashi depicts the variety of voices around us in the form of various loudspeakers on a pushcart. “Some voices are angry, some soft, some confused; others are loud, gentle or lonely,” said Ravikumar, in a chat with YourStory. This range is reflected in the design of the loudspeakers, made of metal, cloth, wood, leather, paper and feathers. Ravikumar studied papermaking during workshops in Glasgow and Seoul.

He urges audiences to be sensitive to the diversity and multiculturalism around us. “Artists convey meaning by responding to society, materials, messages, and themselves,” he explains. “Success for an artist is in coming up with an idea, bringing it to fruition, and gauging audience reactions which may or may not be favourable,” Ravikumar adds. “Find your own way, there are no formulas for success,” he says.

Ayisha Abraham, who has exhibited her works in the US, Europe and India, presents a tree as a 3D notice board. “I played with the basic structure the way a child would, and it emerged into the current form,” she explains. “Art is an extension of the self, and a frontier of freedom. Art is energising, it allows you to start from ground zero again and again with new forms, thus letting you escape from the rut of the rat race,” she says.

“Lose yourself and you will find yourself,” Ayisha advises aspiring artists in the journey of exploration. There are more art galleries, exhibitions, conferences, publications and residencies these days, and artists in India are no longer viewed as dropouts or marginalised people who can’t fit into the mainstream, she adds.

“The definition of success keeps changing as you grow,” Ayisha says; she is now a visual arts consultant at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, and enjoys teaching young minds and learning from them. “Art gives you new interpretations of meaning and value, and pushes your view of everyday objects in different ways beyond commodification,” she explains to audiences.

Manjunath Kamath shows how removing portions of sculpted figures can provoke curiosity. “Piecing the truth from incomplete evidence is a reflection of how we interpret history and current trends,” he explains. All around us are objects and actions that make us draw our own inferences.

“Audiences need to be open to new meanings, and artists themselves need to be open to the new meanings interpreted by audiences. The artist is also a spectator,” Manjunath says. “Success is always finding new challenges to solve. The artistic journey is a cycle of experimentation, struggle and achievement,” he signs off.

Now what you have done to go beyond your successes of today and challenge yourself in new domains?

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!

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