How belief and support, and not fear, shape the creative journey – Anu Menda, RMZ Foundation

In Part II of our photo essay on the RMZ Ecoworld exhibition, we feature more artworks and insights on its creative ecosystem.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 470 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.

The third edition of the Goa Affordable Arts Festival (GAAF) featured 900 artworks by 270 artists. A smaller selection of these creative works were brought to Bengaluru’s RMZ Ecoworld Gallery last month by the RMZ Foundation.

Founded by Siddharth Kerkar and Subodh Kerkar, GAAF connects a wider range of artists to a broader base of audiences. It is held each year at the Museum of Goa (see Part I and Part II of our earlier photo essays and founder interview).

“RMZ Foundation and The Museum of Goa share a vision in fostering cultural awareness and building communities to create opportunities for engagement and dialogue through the medium of art,” explains Anu Menda, Managing Trustee of RMZ Foundation, in a chat with YourStory.

GAAF seeks to give young, aspiring artists a platform to express their creative vision and potential, she adds. See our earlier photo essay on the Bengaluru edition of the festival here.

Exhibiting artists include Kena Sukhadia, Biswajit Roy, Anjali Prakash, Heena Pari, Shrutiben Chandubhai Mangaroliya, Yash Kamat, Sandeep Ashok Ghule, Dharmendra Kumar, Savithru, and Vidya Sagar Singh. Some of the artworks are priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1.3 lakh.

(Note: These photographs were taken before the national lockdown due to the coronavirus, and the visit to the gallery was not in violation of any public safety guidelines. In other articles, we explore the response of the artistic community to the COVID-19 crisis.)

“Art has always been a powerful medium of communication through the ages. Through the Foundation, we have continually worked to bring art to the general public. I have always observed the power of art in creating dialogue and triggering moments of introspection,” Anu affirms.

The Ecoworld Gallery spans around 9,000 square feet, and houses a range of art shows, talks, screenings, and workshops. See YourStory’s photo essays on the earlier gallery exhibitions on printmaking and sculpture, and artist highlights of Ravinder Reddy and Dhruva Mistry.

“We all have different ways of responding to instances in life, and art is one creative way to look at life and reality,” Anu explains. However, some people tend to be intimidated by art because not every work necessarily comes with an explanation of what it is about.

“Art is about a connection or an association, like a feeling or emotion, that is evoked. But that is not always the same as understanding. It is important to acknowledge the train of thought or emotion it triggers, no matter how small it may be,” she emphasies.

This acknowledgement will help viewers find their unique method of responding to art, and may help them feel more comfortable visiting galleries more often, Anu advises. Over the years, the gallery’s art team has received a lot of requests and appreciation from the art fraternity, nearby offices and residential spaces, and other foundations, she adds.

“We have managed to accomplish the purpose of creating interest and awareness amidst individuals who have never been exposed to art,” Anu explains with pride. In the pre-lockdown period, the Gallery experienced a footfall of about a thousand individuals each week.

“Visitors are invited to step into a dialogue with art directly, where they can appreciate the artists’ creations first hand. Such opportunities are otherwise inaccessible to a large part of the community,” Anu points out.

“The artistic journey has to be supported to create exposure and opportunities, so that it can make a difference in the society we live in. RMZ Foundation creates a platform for artists of every calibre to be a part of a greater vision,” she explains.

“One must not fear struggle and must believe in one’s work,” Anu signs off, as words of advice for aspiring artists.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and unleash your creative core?

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