Pottery, poetry, photography: Mumbai’s favourite Kala Ghoda Arts Festival wraps up its 21st edition
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 440 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Held early every February in Mumbai, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) wraps up its 21st edition today. See Part I and Part II of our coverage this year, as well as our earlier articles on the festival editions of 2019, 2018 and 2017.
In addition to paintings, photography, pottery, literature and poetry, there are live performances of music and dance. For example, youth performers include Lydian Nadhaswaram (piano) and Karshni Nair (singer-songwriter). Other performers are percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, singers Shubha Mudgal and Usha Uthup, and sarod duo Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash.
In this photo essay, we feature more of the creative works, and feedback from exhibitors at KGAF 2020.
“Art is expressing your feelings through a medium comfortable to you. It could be painting, sculpture, food, a piece of music, or even just drilling wood,” explains Vishpala Hundekari, Director, Ekibeki, in a chat with YourStory.
“India has a rich art and craft heritage. Unfortunately we are losing out on it,” she cautions. Due to lack of patronage, many artisans are moving away from these crafts, and as a result these crafts are dying.
“We need to have many forums where these artisans can showcase their crafts. Not only art and design students, but all schools and colleges can have hands-on workshops to learn about these crafts from artisans at an early age,” Vishpala advises. Interaction between the urban population and the artisan can be beneficial for both parties.
Ekibeki’s products start as low as Rs 20 and go up to a few thousand rupees. “Last year, there were many school kids who wanted to buy something at less than Rs 50, and we saw the sad expressions when they could not afford anything at any of the stalls,” she recalls.
This year, Ekibeki created a few book marks and gift cards for such audiences. Its offerings include craft stationery, copper enamel home accessories, and jewellery, ranging in price from Rs 100 to Rs 3,000.
The response which Ekibeki got this year at KGAF was amazing, Vishpala says. “The crowd was a bit less on the first two days, but people came and appreciated the work we do. That gives an immense boost to our confidence,” she proudly says.
One of the ceramic artists at KGAF was Pompey Chakravarty of Bengaluru-based Clay Factor. “Clay to me is definitely nothing but inner exploration, it's a medium that speaks from the heart. It's fantastic because it is so tactile and versatile that expressing yourself through it is easy, fun and therapeutic, not to mention addictive,” she enthuses.
“Art to me is communication and expression. Art is meditative,” she adds. She calls for more appreciation of the arts in India. “More platforms like KGAF should happen across cities in the country,” Pompey says.
An art festival is a great place for artists who work across different platforms and mediums to come together under one banner, she affirms. This helps get to know, see and inspire each other and the audience at large.
“My work is all functional, and hence it is imperative that it be priced at a range where people wouldn't hesitate to pick it up,” Pompey explains. For KGAF, her theme was ‘garden' and she displayed only planters ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 900.
This was Clay Factor’s first time at KGAF. “I totally loved it. I got to meet some fantastic people, see great work and meet audiences who critiqued and admired my work. And I think it all worked out well for me because I sold out,” Pompey gushes.
Both Vishpala and Pompey offer words of advice for aspiring artists. “Believe in yourself and don’t give up,” says Vishpala. “It's important to infuse form, art, and functionality,” Pompey advises.
“Don't think too hard and don't think too long! Just take the plunge. Life is unpredictable. You never know what will click when,” she adds. “Also, don't create your art to sell it – create because you just felt like it at that point in time,” Pompey signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and do what you are truly and deeply passionate about?
Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!