Expression, exploration, experimentation: what we can learn about creativity from the Spandan exhibition artists
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 485 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.
Bengaluru’s Venkatappa Art Gallery recently hosted an art exhibition titled Incredible Talents (see Part I of our photo essay here). It was organised by the Spandan Global Art and Cultural Foundation from Goa.
The exhibition featured works by 14 artists from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala. Curator Anant Vikas also publishes an art magazine titled ArtBeat (‘Spandan’ means heartbeat). In this photo essay, we showcase more works from the exhibition, along with artist insights on creativity.
(Note: These photographs from the gallery were taken before the national lockdown due to the coronavirus. The visit to the gallery was not in violation of any public safety guidelines.)
“I truly believe that art is the path to your soul. When I get an interesting idea, I let it simmer in my mind and look at it from multiple perspectives for few days. Only then do I render it on canvas to represent a mixture of perspectives and emotions,” explains Devika Sathyavelu, in a chat with YourStory.
She paints in acrylic and oils, covering landscape, traditional, modern, and abstract forms. “I keep experimenting with new themes and ideas,” she adds. As a homemaker, she says painting inspires her and channels her creative juices.
Though she would gift her earlier artworks to relatives and friends, she says she has started taking her artwork more seriously. “I have created a website for my artwork along with my friend and co-artist Deepa Ananth,” Devika proudly says.
“India has a lot of talented artists and of late they are getting many platforms to showcase their talents,” she observes. She calls for more galleries and exhibitions in public spaces like malls and parks to increase art awareness in India. “This can create a virtuous cycle of appreciation, recognition, sales, and more interest,” she adds.
For the Spandan exhibition, she picked works depicting Karnataka’s heritage, Buddha, and the role of women. “The painting on Ta Prohm in Cambodia represents Indian architecture built by our kings centuries ago,” Devika explains.
Her next projects are on fusions of portrait and abstract forms. Her artworks are priced from Rs 8,000 to Rs 40,000. Devika defines success for herself via internal exploration and getting feedback from receptive audiences, and is pleased with the media coverage and visitor encouragement she has received.
She urges audiences to spend more time appreciating art. “If it touches a chord and appeals to your heart, stop and analyse why it happened and what in it appeals to you,” she suggests.
“Don't get typecast. Get out of your comfort zone and try out a broad range of themes and mediums. Don't be scared to experiment. Out of this, your individual unique style will emerge,” Devika advises aspiring artists.
“Art is a way to express feelings, emotions, and thoughts. It is about exploring and connecting to our inner selves,” explains Deepa Singh. Her works focus on nature, mythology, and spirituality, for which she experiments with different mediums, techniques, and textures.
She began as a self-taught artist through practice, trials, and learning from people around. “I have been fortunate with opportunities to exhibit my artworks in various handicraft festivals and national group exhibitions in Bengaluru, Allahabad, Shimla, Delhi, Mumbai, and Jaipur. I even conducted a show at the Gaiety Theatre, Shimla in 2015,” she proudly says.
As trends in Indian art, she is excited about the returning trend of Indian traditional art forms. “I see potential in exploring and morphing it into something unique,” Deepa adds.
She has conducted workshops on Madhubani and Pichwai techniques. “It has been a wonderful experience sharing my knowledge with people who are passionate to learn about art,” she enthuses.
“Success to me is when I am satisfied with the piece I am creating. Sometimes that comes very easily, while other times, I may find myself stuck on a painting for a while, trying to figure out what’s missing. And that’s the challenge I love about creating art,” Deepa explains.
She calls for more awareness, accessibility and appreciation for art in India. “We barely promote the teaching of art history here. Very few people know about our traditional art forms and techniques,” she laments.
For the Spandan exhibition, Deepa prepared works titled Self-love (the feeling of freedom and happiness when we are transformed in the inner core of our being), Eternal Love (depicting the divine love of Radha and Krishna), and Nirvana (state of peace and bliss despite chaos all around).
The other works were Meditating Buddha (connecting to the inner self) and Murlidhar (Kerala mural work capturing Radha-Krishna on a garden stroll). All artworks were created on canvas in acrylic medium using different background textures.
Her next projects feature Indian traditional art forms – telling mythical stories with a modern twist. Deepa’s artworks are priced from Rs. 10,000 to Rs 50,000.
She was pleased with the Spandan audience’s appreciation and curiosity about her messages and techniques. “The diversity of work presented by all the artists inspired me to think about subjects I haven’t painted before,” she adds.
She urges audiences to visit more art exhibitions and festivals, and interact with artists. “You don’t need to understand all art, but having that conversation will help you understand their perspective in creating it. This encourages the artist as well,” she says.
“Have a great passion for art. Pursuing art requires a lot of patience, focus and dedication. So, listen to your heart’s voice and be authentic – success will follow,” Deepa advises aspiring artists.
“Art is one type of love that I like to express by drawing it on a medium like paper or canvas. Art is everything to me and it's a magic that describes me,” enthuses Subarna Palai.
She has tried a range of styles in charcoal, acrylic, single line, modern, and abstract art. “My art contains passion and patience. It contains many tiny Indian styles and designs that we usually use in mehendis, for instance,” she explains.
Her works are created through continuous improvement of styles and through inspiration from the works of other artists. “Each work is a little step different from previous artworks, and that is how creativity is developed,” she says. She is also grateful for the support she has received from teachers at MAAC Marathahalli.
Subarna started drawing from Class 3 at school. “I continued drawing everywhere – on walls, roads, back pages of notebooks, everywhere I could find some empty space,” she jokes.
She has completed over 400 artworks, and the Spandan show marks her first exhibition. Subarna’s artworks on Buddha, Ganesha, Radha-Krishna and Shivaji are priced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. She is pleased with the appreciation she received, and sees success for herself in being able to build and follow a practice in art.
As trends in art in India, she observes that there are many more mentors, audiences and art lovers now than before. “India’s ancient artwork should be enough to inspire anyone with a range of ideas,” Subarna adds.
“I got inspired by the attractive artworks at the Spandan exhibition. I was the youngest artist and the others gave me good guidance, advice and respect,” she recalls.
“Make the most of opportunities to meet other great artists and get ideas from them. Never judge yourself or lose confidence. Create your own style, and spread your views and love to others,” Subarna signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and unleash your inner creative voice?
Team 'Incredible Talents' 2020
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(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)