Moulding clay, moulding minds: how this arts festival covered a range of creativity

Artists and curators share their insights on how to mould your inner creativity through practice, exposure, and perseverance. They were featured at the annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 445 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.

This month, Mumbai’s annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) wrapped up its 21st edition with a celebration of art, literature, pottery, music, and poetry. See Part I, II, III, IV, V and VI of our coverage of the 2020 edition, as well as our earlier articles on the festival editions of 2019, 2018, and 2017.

“Art to me is an ongoing process of inner exploration which looks to find expression. For me, the medium has varied over the years, and I have been focussing on clay for the past two years,” explains ceramic artist Anupama Shankar, in a chat with YourStory.

“It is addictive, calming, and most fulfilling, to say the least,” she enthuses. She calls for more appreciation and involvement in arts in India. “Art awareness can be improved by making art part of our lives. Public installations can be much better and more aesthetic,” she recommends.

“My small contribution in this is making my pottery both functional and a piece of art – something which you can use in your home and let the artwork be part of your everyday life,” Anupama adds. Her artworks are priced from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 and include decorative ceramics, wall plates, plates with quotes, and sculptures.

“My pricing for the fair is keeping in mind that anyone who appreciates art should be able to pick up at least something,” she explains. The plates with quotes and sculptures were much appreciated and picked up at KGAF.

This was Anupama’s second year exhibiting at KGAF. “The experience was great as always. I met lots of people, some of whom will be getting back with new projects where they saw my work fitting in,” she explains. “Some attendees came back looking for me, which was heartening, and also bought artwork,” she adds.

In addition to painting and pottery, KGAF featured poetry and literature. This track was curated by Indira Chandrasekhar, a scientist, fiction writer, and founder of short fiction platform Out of Print.

“KGAF celebrates the intellectual and joyous aspects of literature,” says Indira. The track featured ideas, thoughts, and debates on the value of literature. A key theme this year was ‘truth,’ via an open platform for discussing a range of opinions.

The nine-day festival featured over 150 authors in several languages, with multi-layered messages and themes. Topics ranged from foreign policy and economics to security and technology.

A spirit of critical inquiry is particularly important in an era where fake news is an alarming phenomenon, according to Indira. She has curated literary gatherings in Bengaluru as well and curated the first Mysore Literature Festival in 2017.

The speaker lineup at KGAF included Jerry Pinto, Vir Sanghvi, Rochelle Potkar, Paresh Tiwari, Jennifer Robertson, Adil Jussawalla, Sholeh Wolpe, Sudeep Chakravarti, Tilak Devasher, and Tara Deshpande. There was also a book club session, where readers shared what they liked and enjoyed about the books they read.

Anupama and Indira both offer words of advice for aspiring artists and authors. “Work because you love to make something, then it will surely stand out,” Anupama advises.

“Pottery is especially a lot of hard work – so be at it and keep learning. Despite disappointments, it will be a rewarding experience if you can learn, improve, and keep working,” she adds.

“Attend a number of festivals to get exposure to arts and literature. Work hard, and keep thinking of what you want to convey,” Indira emphasises. To become a good writer, one should also read a lot.

“Reading helps refine your writing. Creativity is a craft, and practice and originality will help you succeed,” Indira signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and fully develop your inner creative strengths?

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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.


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