Remember, reflect, rejuvenate: how these museums and galleries highlight the ancient and the abstract

On the occasion of World Museum Day 2019, a number of events and shows celebrated India’s rich heritage as well as emerging modern art. Here are some pictorial highlights and artistic insights.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 340 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon galleryworld music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

On the occasion of World Museum Day (May 18), special events were held at institutes in Bengaluru. The Indian Music Experience, India’s first interactive music museum, hosted a heritage hunt (played via an app) and live music show combining folk music and rock (by Raghu Dixit).

The Venkatappa Art Gallery (attached to the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum) held a panel discussion titled ‘Museums as Cultural Hubs and the Future of Tradition.’ The gallery also exhibited the works of renowned artists KK Hebbar (1911-1996), and photographs of heritage monuments.

Other venues featured modern art exhibitions titled Unbounded Vision and Chatty Scapes. The artist lineup included Ganesh Dhareshwar, Sajith Remady, Joseph Francis, and Swarna and Nirmala Naganathan.

“I have been deeply influenced by the literary work Manku Thimmana Kagga, written by DV Gundappa. The life lessons from the poems have inspired my work," says Ganesh Dhareshwar, in a chat with YourStory.

As examples, he points to his painting of mobile phones that have become today’s equivalent of the genie in the lamp, the metaphor of life as a horse race, and the pre-natal state as a time of change. His works are priced in the range Rs, 20,000 to Rs. 1.8 lakhs.

Ganesh sees art galleries as playing an important role in bringing high-quality art works to audiences at affordable rates. But galleries need to reinvent themselves and become more of a community hub, from specialists to students and educators to entrepreneurs.

Joseph Francis from Kottayam in Kerala brings the beauty of nature to his art works. “Nature connects us to our roots and makes us remember where we came from,” he explains. He was earlier creative director at in Bengaluru before moving back to Kerala.

“Study nature, but first love nature,” Joseph advises nature artists. He also sees galleries and museums playing an important role today. “Galleries are a gateway to the art world, to another world of beauty, but it is also our world,” he says.

“Galleries play an important role in featuring the works of emerging artists. Museums help preserve the work of experts for emerging artists to learn from,” explains Nirmala Naganathan.

She also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Purpose, proportion, and perfection are important in art. Do what is close to your heart, and decide how you want to present yourself to audiences,” she suggests.

“Art should come from the heart,” agrees Dr S. Vishnu, who was earlier head of the humanities department in an engineering college before taking early retirement and devoting himself full-time to art.

“Just as leaves come naturally in a tree, so also art should be intrinsic to yourself if you want to become an artist,” he advises. Artists should be immersed in their surroundings but also be able to detach themselves and reflect on it. “Practice regularly and experiment every single day,” Vishnu suggests.

From sculptures and drawings to embroidery and paintings, these exhibitions bring to life India’s rich heritage and emerging artistic skills, as showcased in this photo essay. Museums and galleries can truly become community hubs, bridging urban and rural, local and global influences. Much support and vitality for these hubs comes from community engagement by readers like you.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and get involved in creative communities and spaces around you?

Joseph Francis and Sajith Remady

S. Vishnu

Swarna and Nirmala Naganathan

Ganesh Dhareshwar

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See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Also read: Support traditional and folk arts, don’t just learn about them: Sankalita Das, Secure Giving


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