Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 455 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.
The Spandan Global Art and Cultural Foundation from Goa recently held an exhibition at Venkatappa Art Gallery in Bengaluru, titled Incredible Talents. The five-day exhibition featured the works of 14 artists from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala.
The festival is curated by Anant Vikas, who also publishes a quarterly art magazine aptly named ArtBeat (Spandan means ‘heartbeat’). He has curated over a hundred art exhibitions, and encourages artists to write about their work as well.
For Bengaluru artist Banani Kundu, art is a reflection of life and can have a huge social impact. “This implies a high level of responsibility for every artist, whether a painter or theatre person,” she explains, in a chat with YourStory.
Her paintings have devotional and social themes. “I collect my subjects from the surroundings, and for that, I always keep my inner eyes open. The medium then follows,” Banani says. “I run a daycare centre, and my progress on canvas is more on the days that I work. Most probably, this is due to positive energy from the kids,” she jokes.
Her works have been exhibited in Kolkata and Bengaluru, and are priced from Rs 35,000 to Rs 55,000. “For me, success lies in inner satisfaction. This comes to me if I am able to effectively convey my thoughts on canvas, or if I receive honest appreciation of my work,” Banani explains.
There is lots of artistic talent in all corners of India, she observes. “What is lagging is proper platforms to showcase those talents, and appropriate appreciation and fair prices for artists,” Banani adds. Standards of living are increasing, but more people need to embrace art in their living rooms.
For the Spandan show, she exhibited devotional works themed on Buddha (acrylic, with oil finish) and Ganesha (charcoal). For socially-themed artworks, Banani showcased one on Survival for Existence, and another on Dreamland. Her next projects centre on human expressions through animals like horses.
She finds participating in exhibitions to be inspiring, and the appreciation from viewers is encouraging as well. “An exhibition is a very nice platform to learn from other artists,” Banani adds. She advises audiences to openly share their understanding of the artworks, which will give artists an opportunity to introspect.
Bengaluru artist Somya Pathak draws inspiration from images as well as non-images. These range from movies and real life to thoughts and stories. “I keep making notes of these ideas and themes,” she explains.
When she is ready to start an artwork, she draws on the emotions triggered when she refers to the notes. “I then begin to iterate and flesh it out in the form of drawings, textures and colours. In a few sittings, the painting starts to take shape, though sometimes I have completely redone parts,” Somya says, explaining her creative process.
As a homemaker and mother, she is passionate and disciplined about art, and devotes two hours a day for reflection and painting. Somya has upcoming shows in Mumbai and Budapest later this year.
Her artworks are priced from Rs 15,000 to Rs 75,000. “I enjoy and feel accomplished when I am able to deeply move people. Recognition is a feedback mechanism for better connection,” Somya explains.
For the Spandan show, she depicted human emotions through animals and objects. For example, Gaze shows a wolf’s intense eyes and subtle smile, reflecting the complexity and interactions of human emotions. Storm uses a crow with the backdrop of a storm to convey a sense of being overwhelmed.
Reflection shows the Taj Mahal mirrored in a pool, implying that love and beauty reflect and permeate through all of us. Gulal is shown as a metaphor of love and how it dissolves our prejudices. Heramb is a name of Ganesha, and the ancient statue reflects the permanence of the inner core.
Somya says exhibitions provide joyful opportunities to observe people’s reaction to art, and what moves them. “I am very encouraged by the response I received at the Spandan show,” she enthuses.
For Deepa Anantakrishnan, art is a reflection of an artist's feelings from the inner soul. Her themes are divinity, positivism, prosperity, happiness and innocence. “With every piece of art, I try to use new techniques to learn something new,” she explains. She also consults other expert artists for inputs and inspiration, such as Sudhir Mehra.
Deepa finds inspiration in a number of ways – daily life, billboards, shopfronts, antique stores, and online browsing. “Once I have zeroed in on an idea, I look for ways to improvise so that it is different and stands out. I give life to the idea with colours and textures,” she says.
Her artworks are priced from Rs.5,000 to Rs. 30,000, and span acrylic, oils, and even newsprint. “I am more the introvert, and derive personal satisfaction from the artworks. I also seek critical feedback from family and friends,” Deepa says.
As trends in Indian art, she points to the rise of international influences and digital techniques. “I have seen some artists using purely the digital medium to express their creativity, which is really amazing,” Deepa observes.
She calls for more art venues in India, patronage of artists, and art awareness in schools and colleges. “By uplifting the underprivileged, we can nurture a lot of hidden talent that could lead to the next MF Hussain or Picasso,” Deepa enthuses.
For the Spandan show, she exhibited four artworks: Rajasthani Farmer, Ganga Aarthi, Bhangra Drummer, and Temple Bells. Her next project involves temple dancers.
Deepa says participating in the exhibition gave good feedback, enriching ideas from fellow artists, and encouragement to experiment with new mediums like charcoal, pencils, and pastels. “Art has no boundaries,” she explains.
The road ahead
The exhibitors also offer advice for aspiring artists. “Practice and patience are important in art. Do not be discouraged by the lack of commercial interest,” Somya urges. “Keep doing the work. It is just like test cricket – you have to stay at the crease longer. Only after some tough sessions will the scores come,” Banani jokes.
“It is important to be bold, to experiment with new mediums and themes,” Deepa advises. “Most importantly, be patient and try to first seek personal satisfaction and learning in the journey,” she adds.
“Be open to feedback and improvise as you go. Success will eventually follow,” Deepa signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and polish your inner creative side?
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