Art and resilience: how this Jaipur gallery has leveraged online media to weather the pandemic 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.
The Amber Fort, one of Jaipur’s most popular tourist attractions, also hosts the outstanding Gallery Artchill in the West Wing (see our earlier coverage here). The gallery has a branch in the city called Juneja Gallery, which hosts a wide range of paintings, sculptures and contemporary art.
Founded by Sangeeta Juneja in 1994, the galleries have sponsored dozens of art shows, and also participated in festivals like the annual India Art Fair (see YourStory’s five-part coverage of the 2020 edition here). With permission from Gallery Artchill, PhotoSparks reproduces images of some of its artworks in this photo essay.
“Beautiful art may bring respite, joy or happiness when you collect a favorite artist's artwork. But significant art rouses emotions in us to help others,” explains Gallery Artchill’s founder and creative director Sangeeta Juneja, in a chat with YourStory.
Unfortunately, the global COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to lives and livelihoods. “This time has been very traumatic for the whole world. Even our family suffered as my husband, who was a high risk patient and had diabetes and kidney failure for two years, got COVID and passed away in October,” says Sangeeta.
The pandemic has also adversely affected the art industry, which is heavily dependent on physical exhibitions at galleries and festivals. Many art galleries have shut down, or are suffering from low volumes of visits and sales. “A lot of art is bought at leisure with extra funds, which is lacking in these times,” Sangeeta laments.
At the same, going online has opened up new formats and further global reach. “Many galleries and artists have becomes tech savvy. They are having virtual shows, and relying on ecommerce and social media for connecting with buyers to get good sales,” Sangeeta explains.
Her gallery’s artworks are generally sold at a price range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000, with some even in the range of lakhs of rupees. Gallery Artchill’s artworks have sold well within India and to clients abroad, she proudly says. Art sales within India have sometimes racked up several lakhs of rupees in a good month, she adds.
Gallery Artchill has about 2,500 works of art in stock at present. “Having a good collection, retaining community connections, becoming more tech savvy with a well-loaded website, and receiving good sales would constitute success for us in these tough times,” Sangeeta says.
She observes a lot of creativity and positivity in Indian art as a trend, but cautions younger artists to not simply copy the work of senior painters. “Success will come from having original ideas. Even though it can be tough to make a mark of your own, you have to create unique and distinct artwork,” Sangeeta advises aspiring and emerging artists.
Art curators and gallerists will have to keep upskilling themselves for the digital world. “Hosting online symposiums, discussions, lectures and talks on art appreciation also benefits the community,” Sangeeta advises.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new ways of strengthening your connection to art?