From creativity to perseverance: what we can learn from the 91 artists at Art Souk 2019

On the occasion of Karnataka Rajyotsava, we feature a range of creative works from the Art Souk exhibition in Bengaluru, along with artist insights on purpose and practice.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 395 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.

ArtMantram Trust recently organised the one-week Bangalore Art Craft and Design Festival 2019. It included a conference with keynotes and panels, an interactive session with Padma Shri awardees in art, and an exhibition called Art Souk. The exhibition was held at the Promenade Boulevard, next to the Rangoli Metro Arts Centre, MG Road Metro Station.

Installation, sketches and paintings were presented by 91 artists from across India. In this two-part photo essay, we showcase some of the diverse artworks on display, along with artist insights. Many of the exhibitors define success not just in commercial terms or awards, but through recognition, audience delight, and internal exploration.

They call for more public art exhibitions, cultural festivals, street art shows, and interactive sessions between artists and audiences. The exhibitors advise aspiring artists to develop their unique individual styles, be self-motivated, and not get discouraged by negative comments.

“Ark Souk provides a platform for aspiring artists like us to showcase our creativity and also sell some works. Meeting, interacting, and learning from other artists is another motivation,” explains Suvidha Bolar, in a chat with YourStory.

She displayed paintings and ceramic works at the exhibition, priced from Rs 500 to Rs 15,000. She is working on a ceramic project next, involving traditional blue pottery techniques.

Another exhibiting artist was Sanjeev Saini, a telecom engineer who spends four to six hours painting on weekends. He works mostly on realistic portraits and flowers. His displayed works included a portrait of a woman from Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh) in a traditional outfit. His works are priced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

“Art is a form of communication that transcends the boundaries of language and conveys the emotion, vision and experience of the artist,” explains Somya Pathak. She primarily paints on canvas with acrylic and oil, with earthy colours.

As a homemaker and mother, she disciplines herself to paint two to four hours a day. She has an MBA, and studied art under Sudhir Meher. Her artworks are priced from Rs 15,000 to Rs 75,000.

“Indian artists are embracing their deep cultural heritage and expressing it with a modern perspective. Indian artists have become more confident in themselves and are not seeking Western approval,” Somya observes, as trends in Indian art.

“The theme of Shiva Baraat is very close to my heart as I come from Ujjain, which is home to Shiva Jyotirlinga in Mahakaleshwar temple,” she explains, describing some of her paintings.

Somya urges audiences to appreciate art through a process of description, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of impact. She also advises parents to expose their children to art in all its forms, and bring it into their lives via activities like rangoli or music.

“Most of my artworks are themed around fond childhood memories,” explains abstract artist Bharathi Senthilvelan, who was an animator and graphic designer for 10 years before devoting herself full-time to art. She was mentored by her brother, Sivabalan, who is an artist as well.

“As a native of Kumbakonam, a town known for Chola period temples, exposure to art forms was natural for me,” she recalls. She has exhibited at Chitra Santhe and Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, as well as Lalit Kala Akademi in Chennai.

She conducts workshops with various themes like Mandala, pattern making, and even artworks from waste newspapers. She has upcoming exhibitions in Delhi, Puducherry and Bhopal later this year.

“Commercial success happens after many years of consistent work and creating your own story,” Bharathi advises aspiring artists. Mentoring also helps advance to the next level and realise one’s true potential.

“Observing the fine details of nature and living life in a slower lane can improve art appreciation,” she adds. As outstanding cities for art, she points to Valparaiso in Chile, known for art in almost every street and building.

Her works include wood and mandala mixed art, priced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000. “In exhibitions like Art Souk, we must expect impulsive buying behaviour from viewers. Keeping that in mind, I displayed smaller-sized paintings with affordable price points,” Bharathi explains.

As trends in India’s art scene, she points to the rise of online marketplaces and art stores for buying artworks. “The true potential for original art in India is huge, as every home has a possibility of owning artworks in some form,” Bharathi signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, and find ways to bring the power of creativity deeper into your home and life?

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