Art in the online world: how this gallery shows that success is staying creative in the face of crisis
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.
Over the last three years, Gallery Ark in Vadodara has hosted 13 curated exhibitions and organised lectures and workshops on contemporary art trends and techniques. With permission from the gallery, PhotoSparks has reproduced images of artworks by 22 featured artists in this photo essay series (see Part I, Part II and Part III).
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 Vishawakarma, Veer Munshi Walter, Vineet Kacker, Vinod Daroz, and Vishnu Nair.
Gallery Ark was founded in 2017 by art patrons Seema and Atul Dalmia. It has become a local cultural hub and now attracts broader audiences online as well.
Its Embark III exhibition was held entirely virtually due to the pandemic crisis. Another recent initiative was a 3D virtual exhibition to create a remote art-viewing experience. It captures the gallery’s impressive, multistoried space along with pop-ups and informative notes on the artworks.
“The 3D exhibition model has been created in collaboration with a Chandigarh-based company specialising in AR/VR technology. The 3D exhibition view is integrated into our website and can be easily accessed with a quick visit to the site,” explains Gallery Ark’s Director, Nupur Dalmia in a chat with YourStory.
The team is also building a different variation of the model on the Matterport platform. “That involves using a 3D camera to film the space – something we couldn’t do whilst we were in lockdown,” Nupur adds.
The new model will be released shortly. “We are quite excited to play around with the different technologies to bolster our digital experience in the best way possible,” she enthuses.
The Online Viewing Room is being hosted on Art Logic software, designed specifically to manage the various digital requirements of an art gallery. This includes the website back-end, maintaining stockroom records, and hosting virtual exhibitions.
“The Online Viewing Room has been designed to be able to share artworks and exhibition write-ups with ease,” Nupur explains. The activity is managed by the gallery’s small but efficient team.
She offers audiences tips on how to approach and interpret art, instead of being intimidated by art. “Reading and educating oneself through consistent engagement is perhaps the best way to overcome that feeling of a barrier to entry,” Nupur advises.
“One of the positives to come out of the lockdown experience has been the proliferation of online spaces. They offer high quality and perhaps more importantly - fun! - ways to engage with art,” she enthuses.
She points to the discovery platform for visual arts, Art Fervour as a good example in this regard. “Their thoroughly researched, diverse cultural content and disarming tone makes them the perfect platform to whet one’s appetite for art,” Nupur says.
“With the forced slowing down we have all experienced in the last few months, the value of art as a balm for the spirit has really come to the fore. The more we allow art to enter our world, the less baffling and more joyful it seems,” Nupur enthuses.
She sees commerce and collaboration as some hallmarks of success for the gallery. “The commercial success of our exhibitions is naturally a core measure of our success, but we also place tremendous value on the dynamic commissions and collaborations that benefit our artists in an impactful way,” Nupur emphasises.
The gallery has closed a corporate commission by three of its artists from Masters’ Union. There is also another substantial on-site commission in the pipeline, according to Nupur.
“Staying innovative and adaptable is another valuable metric of success for us. I am happy to share that the gallery team has stepped up to this challenge in the recent months,” she adds.
“We have been able to execute a nimble digital pivot because of this. Staying creative in spite of the circumstances is certainly a hallmark of success,” Nupur signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new ways of strengthening your connection to art?