From research to resilience: success tips from artists at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai

Deep domain insights along with sustained effort are required to succeed in the long creative journey, as explained in our fifth photo essay on this annual arts festival.

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.

Mumbai’s annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) wrapped up its 21st edition this month, with a celebration of art, literature, dance, music, photography, and poetry. See Part I, Part II, and Part III of our coverage along with curator and artist insights, as well as our earlier articles on the festival editions of 2019, 2018 and 2017.

One of the exhibitors at KGAF 2020 was Koushik Ghosh, Founder of The Design Studio Bolpur. “Art allows us to express our inner aesthetic sensibility, which can be transferred into product design. That in turn brings joy and a sense of happy fulfillment to our customer's lives,” Koushik explains, in a chat with YourStory.

This practice generates livelihood for many, especially rural artisans. “Therefore, through art, we can serve our society better,” he adds. The studio is inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s dreams, and aims to create jobs and means of self-sustenance in the rural sector.

His studio specialises in hand-made products that support and encourage good craftsmanship. Budding designers are supported in their journey of coming up with unique concepts and ideas. Their children receive help with education, and employees have a safety net of insurance.

“We strongly believe that education is the most effective tool of social development. A large number of our employees are women. Therefore, creating a value-added educational system alongside gender empowerment falls within our prime agendas,” Koushik affirms.

The studio provides inputs in design, quality control, access to raw materials, and production coordination. Offerings range from hand-woven textiles and hand-block printing to ceramic art and wooden home décor.

“Festival like KGAF and art fairs are immensely helpful in bringing artists and art lovers together. This helps in improving art awareness and livelihood,” Koushik emphasises.

At KGAF, the studio’s wooden artworks were priced from Rs 500 to Rs 45,000. “It was a wonderful experience altogether. Our product line was appreciated by all, and the encouragement we received from the community was phenomenal,” he proudly says.

A number of exhibitors call for greater appreciation and participation for arts in India. “We need a drastic change in our education system to strike a balance between studies, creative arts, and sports,” urges Shama Khan, Founder, Strands of Time.

Her fabric artworks were priced from Rs 300 to Rs 2,000. There were styles and price points for every age group. Shama regards KGAF as a great platform for artists to showcase their talents.

“I was truly moved and humbled by the fantastic response I received at KGAF,” she enthuses. We received such wonderful and encouraging feedback from almost everyone about the creative and fearless use of fabric and colour in our product, and how wearing one of our pieces just brightened their day while being easy on their pockets,” Shama enthuses.

Koushik and Shama both have words of advice for aspiring creators. “I would advise artists to really introspect and explore their inner strengths, and to be fearless,” Shama says.

“It takes good design, quality products, and a sense of evolved aesthetic sensibility to succeed,” Koushik explains. Art is essentially a medium of communication and this process can synchronise aesthetic sensibility with traditional art and craft forms.

"Therefore art education, research, and consistent endeavour are required for success,” Koushik signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and fully commit to your creative side?

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at!

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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