Lights, colour, celebration: the Art Bengaluru 2018 festival kicks off during Diwali


In this four-part photo essay, we showcase the creative works at the latest edition of the annual Art Bengaluru festival, along with career insights from the artists and curator.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 255 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.

The festival of lights just got more colourful, thanks to the Art Bengaluru 2018 exhibition at UB City. The lineup this year includes 17 artists from six cities: Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Indore.

Launched in 2011, Art Bengaluru has helped put the IT city and startup hub on the art map as well. The 200 artworks this year span photographs, mixed media, drawings, video projects, sculptures (from wood, steel and paper) and paintings (with oil, watercolours, acrylic and ink). The artworks are priced from Rs 13,000 to Rs 65 lakh.

Featured artists at the 10-day festival include Balan Nambiar, an award-winning painter, sculptor, enamellist, photographer, and academic researcher. (See Part 1 and Part 2 of our photo essay on his earlier exhibition at NGMA.)

Romicon Revola showcases two video projects and a sculpture spanning themes of water and urban sprawl (she joins us in an interview in Part II of this photo essay). Ashu Gupta uses stark black-and-white drawings to comment on environmental destruction in the face of reckless urbanisation (she joins us in an interview in Part III of this photo essay).

Gurudas Shenoy has over two decades of art practice behind him, and specialises in abstract murals; he was the curator for M.F. Husain’s Museum, the Husain Sankalana. Pallon Daruwala’s work spans commercial and fine art photography; he was the first Indian member of the International Association of Architectural Photographers. Vipta Kapadia studied at J.J. School of Arts and SNDT, and has displayed her works across India and overseas over the past few decades.

D Venkatapathy is the senior-most living founder member of the Cholamandal Artist Village, and showcases large linear hillscapes in pen and ink on paper. Artists focusing on paper and wood include Yuvan Bothysathavur (plywood), S Ravi Shankar (laser-cut paper sculpture) and Ganesh Selvaraj (assemblages of magazine paper on board).

Devangana Kumar critiques the colonial era through her overlays on 19th century postcard images of Indian servants under British rule. Rohaan Sulaiman documents the costumes and rituals of Naga tribes, and also captures images of wildlife.

Saju Kunhan’s massive oil canvas depicts the motorised concrete jungle of the mega-city Mumbai. Parvathi Nayar’s art focuses on the scarcity of water through drawings of droplets. Ashish Dubey showcases the power of abstract photography, flipping through natural and edited images. Other featured artists include Kavita Jaiswal (mixed media) and Chandan Bhowmick (abstractions in acrylic).

As compared to overseas markets, art in India needs more awareness, appreciation and support, according to Abhishek Naidu, Curator, Art Bengaluru. “We need more galleries, museums and public art spaces,” he said, in a chat with YourStory.

Art is its own language and inspires audiences, collectors and curators. “Art needs to get out of galleries and more into public spaces, it should not be seen as intimidating by larger audiences,” Abhishek explains. Though he had initially studied finance, he felt drawn more strongly to art due to its creativity and inspirational qualities.

The Art Bengaluru 2018 festival will run through November 11, and is free for all. Success for the festival will come from wider audience appreciation, increased support for art, and more interest from new artists and collectors, Abhishek explains.

“See as much art as you can. Don’t be afraid of criticism, and don’t be swayed by critics – learn how to filter their criticism,” he signs off, as advice to aspiring artists.

Now what have you done today this festive season to celebrate your creative side, and help promote art across the board?

Abhishek Naidu, Curator, Art Bengaluru

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