[Year in Review 2019] Top quotes of the year on the beauty, importance, and practice of art

Drawn from our comprehensive coverage of India’s creative ecosystem, we present 100 inspiring quotes from artists, curators, and organisers of festivals and exhibitions.

[Year in Review 2019] Top quotes of the year on the beauty, importance, and practice of art

Sunday December 29, 2019,

12 min Read

From traditional to contemporary art, the arts community in this quotes compilation shares insights on the importance of art in society, India’s unique heritage, and the beauty and magic of art. They also share tips for aspiring artists on the importance of practice, purpose and perseverance.


Unfortunately, artists are under pressure from intolerant forces in a number of countries around the world. Fortunately, creative and peaceful ways of expressing solidarity against polarisation and conflict are emerging, as seen in the slogans, posters and social media messages during recent demonstrations.

Art is about inner exploration, creative expression, economic capital, social harmony, and respect for nature, as these diverse quotes portray. The recent spurt in art galleries, museums, exhibitions and festivals across India bodes well for the artistic community and broader society.

The quotes and photos in this compilation are drawn from articles in our weekend PhotoSparks section on art and design, as well as other articles from HerStory, SocialStory and YourStory Weekender. See also our compilations of quotes on the occasion of World Photography Day, and Top Quotes of 2019 on Design.

Make it a habit to check out YourStory’s Daily Capsule, and weekly quotes compilations StoryBites. Our book review section shares insights and takeaways from over 240 titles on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation.

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

YourStory wishes all artists, performers, curators, gallerists, and festival organisers a Happy New Year ahead, with much success, scale and impact!

The big picture

Without the arts, our race would have been just another species on the planet and not a civilisation. - Sunil Kant Munjal, Serendipity Arts Foundation

Art enhances human culture and makes us true human beings. We express our feelings, thoughts, life experiences, or ideologies through art forms. - Venugopala HS

The arts bridge cultures; they're good for the economy, and they're good for fostering empathy and decency. - Julie Andrews

The source of all art, science, and technology – in fact, all of human civilisation – is itself creative imagination, or creative thinking. - PA Paul

Technology is like words, institutions are like grammar, and culture is like the thesaurus. - Anil Gupta, 'Grassroots Innovation'

Art connects things like history, culture and religion together. But sadly, it's not given much importance or is exploited. - Samarth Chaturvedi, Maitreya Inc


The beauty and magic of art

Art, the simple three-letter word, encompasses a wide gamut of thoughts, ideas, and definitions in its own language. - Shana Gokul

Art gives the freedom to transcend the realm of reality and draw from the depths of imagination. - Sunita Vasanth

Art is an excitement that vibrates in your mind and body. - John Gollings, ‘The History of the Built World'

This is the seduction of creating – you become a part of what you create and what you create becomes a part of you. - Reena Kochar

Art pushes the boundaries of human experience, sometimes even into unintended realms. - Thayada Shamsudheen

There is more to life than the market. – SA Vimalanathan, artist


Art and purpose

Art is not just about exploration or creativity but is meant to serve a purpose. - Vyshali Acharya

It is the artist community’s job to awaken and sensitise the world. - Pragya Jain, Artychoke

Traditional art must reinvent itself and appeal to the younger generation or the evolved aesthetic of the Indians of today. - Pooja Singhal, Atelier Tradition & Beyond

It is the need of the hour to get up and create a responsible and sustainable environment. - Roshan Netalkar, Echoes of Earth Festival

Art is a powerful medium to make an impact and change mindsets towards mental illnesses. - Sahiti Gavarikar, ‘Bad Romance’

It is the artist’s responsibility to make things that are interpretative and have something to take away for participants. - Sudarshan Shetty, SAF

Artists can be as powerful as politicians in advocating for and influencing policies by being sensory antennae of society. - Afra Khan


Art in India

For India to become a developed country, it must value art and not just technological or economic advancement. - Shombit Sen, gesturism artist

Indian art has the power and creativity to compete on a global level. - Rohini Choudhary, 'Iridescent'

India’s art scene is only getting better by the day. Social media plays a huge role in promoting art and artists. - Amit Verma, Shiny Colours

Art in India still sorely lacks the awareness, appreciation and support that it receives internationally. - Uzma Irfan, Art Bengaluru

We have a rich heritage and there is unexplored talent in remote corners of our nation that haven't yet seen the light of day. - Pratima Sinha, Nurture India

We have many folk art traditions going back to over a thousand years, and constitute our precious heritage. We have to show that we value our culture and our roots. - Vinay Prashant, Tamaala Gallery

It’s time to be creative, yet strike a balance between modern and ancient times. Appreciate and explore the different and wonderful art forms of India. - Mitali Upadhye, Raah Foundation

Our arts and crafts are the biggest contributors to design in this country. - Vinay Varanasi, Unbind Education

It is up to us to continue on this path of evolution; in gratitude to our vast textile and craft heritage, or to erode all that has been built over a thousand years. - Payal Jain

The livelihoods of artisans can be preserved only if the government exempts the handicraft sector from GST. - Rohit Rusia, Aid and Survival of Handicraft Artisans

It would really help if the government creates checks for authentic handmade items by awarding GI tags to art forms like Madhubani, Kalamkari, and Worli. - Ihitashri Shandilya, MITHILAsmita


Impact of art

Art is something with which you can interact and engage. It can completely change the way you react to things. - Devanshi Rungta, Art Rickshaw

Art is a place of discovery of new concepts and new questions of society. - Odile Burlaraux, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris

For every era, there are specific world views that really define the trajectory of the arts. It’s almost like the voice of the generation. - Smriti Rajgarhia, Serendipity Arts Foundation

Art of any sort reflects changing societies, and so we will go through cyclical renewals and upheavals in keeping with the times. - Krishna Udayasankar, Beast

It is important to have interest, imagination, and curiosity about life. Art keeps life intense and flowing. - KV Prasad, artist

Inculcating art forms as part of early childhood not only improves cognitive and decision-making skills, but also helps develop a healthy and happy state of mind. - Jigyasa Labroo, Slam out Loud

Art widens your imagination and extends your horizons. It increases your emotional quotient and elevates your happiness. - Akanksha Rastogi


The practice of art

Art is more than an activity of leisure or luxury. It demands full attention and commitment, just like any other academic field. - Deboshree

Creativity is not only about creating something original from scratch but also about taking something that already exists and creating something new and innovative from it. - Beas Dev Ralhan, Next Education

Enjoy and relish the creative process rather than complaining about life. Life is not going to be hunky dory; there is the good and the bad, but focus on the good. - Anonna Guha, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Don't run after fame and sales. They will pour on you anyway if your work has the purity and the power to speak to the world. - Ahila C

Getting lost in being someone else will never give you happiness and satisfaction. - Stuti Sinha

If you see a landscape you would like to paint, imagine how you would have created it if you were the creator of this universe. - Suchitha Venkatesh

Art is a life path. Be strong, and feel entitled to do what you want. Dream, but also keep focus. - Floy Krouchi, Bass Holograms

Learning something new and practising it is an unending process. And a beautiful one at that. - Aishwarya Ramachandran

If you can maintain your artistic fidelity and rigour, your work will be recognised despite the ebbs and flows of fickle trends. - Shubigi Rao

Art is a difficult pursuit which takes years of perseverance to achieve one’s fullest potential. - Chetana Ravi


Making a connection between patterns and finishing a work of art is itself an act of success. - Satish Pujari, Technicolor

Success for an artist comes from the happiness of making a connect with the audience. - Manisha Gera Baswani, 'Postcards from Home'

Just as leaves come naturally in a tree, so also art should be intrinsic to yourself if you want to become an artist. - Dr S. Vishnu, artist

It helps to be able to switch modes and play the role of a thin-skinned learner and a thick-skinned doer. Wisdom, however, is to know when to be thick-skinned and when to be sensitive. – Kalyan Rathore, artist

Work as a community. At the same time, maintain your individuality. - Prasad Natarajan, Artists for Wildlife and Nature

An artist must have the soul of an adventurer, an innovator and an alchemist. More than anything, an artist must be a good conduit, a good sponge. - Ruchi Bakshi, SAF

Happiness comes from a sense of fulfillment and authentic expression of yourself. Listen to your inner voice, it will open up a new world for you. - Anubha Jaswal, ceramic artist

Have an open and observant mind, and peel away the layers of what you see around you just like an onion. - Alka Mathur, artist


Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. - Sunitha Krishna

Don't hide your talents just because of what others think and say. Pursue your passion as a profession to succeed in life and reach great heights. - Susharitha Sugumar, 'Art Souk'

Find your voice. Don’t create content in space that is already saturated. And start. Immediately. - Saloni Srivastava

Though digital tools may help, the artistic journey starts in the head. - Jijo Das, Art of My Optimus

There is no failure in art. Everything which didn’t turn out the way you want teaches something and there is always the chance of a beautiful accident. - Suvidha Bolar

Perfection happens only after many iterations. - Subhashini Chandramani, 'The Garden Art Journal'

No one attributes the success of a pianist to the quality of the piano. - Prathap DK, photographer

Believe in yourself, because there will be times no one else will. - Vivek Menezes, Mundo Goa


The business of art

Commercial success happens after many years of consistent work and creating your own story. - Bharathi Senthilvelan, ‘Art Souk’

The commercialisation of art is as important as the passion associated with it. - Abhinav Singh

Marketing and networking will help you overcome the fear of exhibiting your paintings to the outside world. - Asha Bhat

Commerce must happen, but its pursuit must never corrupt the purity of true art. - Mitali Tripathi, K-Store

It is important for artists to stay unaffected by rejections and focus on their work. - Naiya Parkash

Success as a curator would be consistently creating art experiences that move the already art-literate observer and convert the art-sceptic. - Abhishek Naidu, Art Bengaluru 2019


Art appreciation

Art is something that resists definition and leaves behind for the viewer an aesthetic and philosophical surplus. - Nancy Adajania, SAF

Arts is the most important way of staying in touch with oneself in a meaningful manner. - Kristine Michael, SAF

Every human spirit is an exceptional and beautiful soul, and art viewers can find that in every artist’s painting. - Sangeeta Agarwal

View art not only from your eyes but also from your heart. - Saroj Revankar

It is important to expose yourself to art, because it really does hold the power to change the way you look at the world around you. - Varun Backliwal, Artisera

Art should not be elitist in nature, and should have a place in everyone’s life. - Gourmoni Das, Dot Line Space

While many e-commerce and crafts sites promote folk art, exhibitions offer you the rare opportunity to see original folk artworks in real life and get a sense of their true beauty. - Sankalita Das, Secure Giving

Even if you are not an artist you can bring out artistic sensibilities in all your work. - Subarna Patro, NGMA

What you imagine is even more important than what you see. - Daan Oude Elferink


The road ahead

We all should be more accepting and encouraging of recycled art. Recycled is not equal to cheap products. - Parveen Jiterwal, KareGhar

The profession of beauty is not just limited to makeup, skin care, and hair styling; nail art is also one of the significant parts of this ever-expanding industry. - Bharti Taneja, Alps Beauty Group

Photography, in all its forms, reflects the complexity of human endeavor. - Lina Vincent, Goa Familia project

Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away. - Frida Kahlo

Every artist was first an amateur. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wake up, lace up, show up. - Namu Kini, KYNKYNY.com

Creativity takes courage. - Kushboo Rathod

You should have the madness, confidence, and strength to show your creativity to this world. - Swetha Nagori

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).