From expression to engagement – how art responds to the realities of the pandemic era
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 500 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.
Founded by art patrons Seema and Atul Dalmia in 2017, Vadodara’s Gallery Ark continues to promote contemporary art despite the challenges of the pandemic era. See also Part I and Part II of YourStory’s photo essays on the gallery’s artworks.
Over the past three years, the gallery has hosted 13 exhibitions featuring established and emerging artists. With permission from Gallery Ark, PhotoSparks has reproduced images of artworks by 22 featured artists in this photo essay series.
The artist lineup includes Alexander Gorlizki, Jyoti Bhatt, Moonis Ahmad Shah, Teja Gavankar, Mahaveer Swami, Vimal Ambaliya, Chottu Lal, Devendra Khare, Ira Chaudhuri, Jean-Louis Raymond, Jignasha Ojha, Madhvi Subrahmanian, Mandeep Meera Sharma, Manisha Solanki, Jethro Buck, Olivia Fraser, Prashant Miranda, Rushabh Vishwakarma, Veer Munshi Walter, Vineet Kacker, Vinod Daroz, and Vishnu Nair.
Gallery Ark works closely with the MSU Faculty of Fine Art on the Embark platform to showcase promising talent. “We are deeply committed to foregrounding the joy of art and culture – it is our collective wealth, to be cherished and enjoyed,” explains Gallery Ark Director Nupur Dalmia, in a chat with YourStory.
The gallery hosts an annual lecture series, the KG Subramanian Memorial Lectures, in collaboration with MSU faculty. “We invite some of the leading names in art history for a workshop series titled Propositions: Method and Material. It is led by contemporary art practitioners, and there are also live performances across genres,” she adds.
“All of these have been helmed with the intent to create a dynamic hub that celebrates and inspires the current conversation on art and culture,” Nupur proudly says.
The coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted the art industry, particularly gallery exhibitions and festivals. Despite these challenges, Gallery Ark has responded by launching digital initiatives like online shows and 3D virtual models.
“I believe that now more than ever before, it is imperative for practitioners and professionals in the art world – be it artists, curators, or gallery managers – to remain clued into the latest innovations on the technological front,” Nupur emphasises.
“Art, in its broadest, most inclusive sense, has never existed in a silo. Art responds to the realities of the world,” she adds. Familiarisation with digital technologies is mandatory to be able to operate effectively in the ecosystem today.
“Something as ubiquitous as Instagram, for instance, has become an invaluable tool, both for audience building and sales. Dexterity and creativity with digital platforms is of paramount importance,” Nupur urges.
This period has been challenging for the gallery, but the digital-focused pivot has allowed it to reach an audience beyond Vadodara. “We have seen a massive uptick in engagement on our Instagram and portal, including sales through the website,” she proudly says.
“We hope to continue developing our offerings, spotlighting the talent we support in creative ways, and further building our audience across demographics,” Nupur signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new ways of thriving during this crisis?