Imagine, interpret, implement: what these artists teach us about roles and relevance in life
The works of nine artists were on display at the recent exhibition titled Polygonal, in Gallery Sumukha. Here are artist and curator insights on perspectives, imagination, and relevance in society.Madanmohan Rao
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Gallery Sumukha in Bengaluru recently hosted an exhibition featuring the works of nine artists, called Polygonal. In this article, artists KV Prasad, K Aishwaryan, and BH Lokesh, as well as curator M. Ramachandran share insights on their work and the meaning of art.
“It is important to have interest, imagination, and curiosity about life. Art keeps life intense and flowing,” said KV Prasad, in a chat with YourStory. Curiosity about life manifests itself in different forms, he adds: mathematics for John Nash, physics for Albert Einstein, literature for A.K Ramanujan, and painting for K.G Subrahamanyan.
“Art is in free thinking and not just in the medium we express; it is beyond monetary gain and even livelihood or social mission. Art has become my belief system for life,” Prasad explains. Success in art comes from continuity, consistency, and ability to reach people.
At the exhibition, his works focused on the obsession with ranks and marks in the education sector. “However, education is more than a horse race or superhuman performance in entrance exams. Focusing only on newspaper reports of student ranks leads to confusion in identity, and exam pressures have even led to student suicides,” Prasad explains.
He finds such newspaper ads disturbing, and his art draws on images of Hayagriva (horse-faced God of Knowledge) and Saraswati (Goddess of Wisdom). His other works address dystopian urbanisation and migration.
Prasad also has tips for audiences and aspiring artists. “View artworks without prejudices, that will boost your imagination. Your interpretations of the artworks can go beyond the vision of the artists or curator. Focus on the message of the artwork, not just the artist’s message,” he explains.
“Art is a personal expression in response to society, and a voice to thoughts and views. If my artworks make audiences pause and ponder, that to me is success. Each of their responses is a new perspective to my work,” says sculptor Aishwaryan K.
His installation is titled Past, Present, Future. The past is baggage, the present is our creation, and the future is unpredictable, he explains. He is also working on a solo exhibition after three years of research.
Other artists draw on India’s large agrarian culture. “I have used cow dung as a medium of expression, where the material spurs a rustic directness and cultural involvement,” explains BH Lokesh. He advises aspiring artists to work hard, visit shows, interact with fellow artists, and cultivate a relationship with art.
Exhibition curator M. Ramachandran explains that even the dreams of an individual are social in all their senses, and art constitutes responses to social conditions and contexts. “Even the position of a regressive is essential for the progressives to enable themselves to strengthen their position,” he says.
The role of a curator is to present angles and perspectives on the works of a set of artists, and may even provoke discussion and arguments. “All the artists involved in the show share some aspects of my concerns in visual art and culture. My efforts towards the audience are only in assisting society rejuvenate the visual thinking practice,” Ramachandran says. His other projects involve writings on the similarities of ritualistic visual culture of Sri Lanka and Kerala, and a biography of abstract painter KCS Paniker.
“Society recognises its cultural personalities according to their responses to the Zeitgeist. Artists need to focus more on relevance and significance than only fame, publicity or commercial sales. One becomes an artist of a culture only when one becomes able to respond sensibly and sensitively to the needs of the times,” Ramachandran signs off.
Now, what have you done today to go beyond your usual line of work, to see how you can add relevance and meaning to life?
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