Four cities, 200 artists: how this art movement builds momentum for creativity in India

Sumi Gupta, curator of the Whitefield Art Collective’s 2019 exhibition, joins us for a chat on art initiatives in Chandigarh, Surat, Bengaluru and Chennai.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 310 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.

Established in 2007, Virtuous Retail (VR) runs community-oriented lifestyle shopping centres in four cities in India. The venues also serve as platforms for cultural festivals, civic partnerships, and collaborations with community stakeholders.

One such initiative (now in its fourth annual edition) is titled Whitefield Art Collective (WAC). See our coverage of the editions in 2018, 2017 and 2016. The exhibition this year is titled ‘Connecting Communities through Art’ (see Part I and Part II of our photo essay).

The beauty and power of art can be truly showcased at scale when exhibitions are held in public spaces, and not just in the confines of indoor galleries, according to WAC curator Sumi Gupta.

“We help emerging artists right from conceptualisation stage to promotion of their art works via informative placards,” Sumi explained, in a chat with YourStory. The feedback the artists get is overwhelming, from thousands of visitors of all ages who view their art works in the malls each day.

Along with the Punjab Art Initiative (Chandigarh) and Dumas Art Project (Surat), public art exhibitions are held in Bengaluru and Chennai as well. Together, the works of 200 artists are showcased across these four venues in India each year, according to Sumi.


As emerging trends in the art world, Sumi identifies mixed media works, digital art, and large sculptural installations. “But many artists are so immersed in their own works that they are unable to market themselves,” she observes.

“Put yourself out there. Don’t be shy of your work, be proud of it, but don’t be afraid to ask others for help,” Sumi advises aspiring artists. Make an effort to see art and appreciate creativity, she signs off, as a message to audiences.

Now, what have you done today to spark your artistic soul, or draw inspiration from creative communities around you?

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