From resilience to recovery – artist, curator, and gallerist hopes for 2022 and beyond
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 560 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 Monalisa Kalagram in Koregaon Park, Pune recently hosted a wide-ranging exhibition of over 30 contemporary artists, titled Contemporary Signatures. Some of the artworks are priced from Rs 45,000 to Rs 5.5 lakh.
The aptly-named art hub is founded by mother-daughter duo, Mona and Lisa Pingale. The current exhibition, showcased in the gallery and online, was conceptualised and curated by The Curators.Art (see Part I of our photo essay here).
Anand Panchal - Untitled
2021: lessons learnt
“The pandemic changed art viewing patterns the world over and collectors became increasingly comfortable with buying online, which is great for the growth of Indian art,” explains Lisa Pingale, co-founder of Monalisa Kalagram, in a chat with YourStory.
“But at heart, I remain old school and believe viewing art in person has an unparalleled magic,” she adds. Hence the gallery did not actively do too many virtual shows.
“Opening the season with a large show like Contemporary Signatures has more than made up for the brief absence we had from shows,” Lisa enthuses.
Seema Kohli - Kamdhenu
“2021 saw a slow and steady comeback to normalcy. The general sentiment among people about life has evolved, I would say. The pandemic has taught us to be prepared for the worse,” Mumbai-based artist and educator Gunjan Shrivastava observes.
People’s resilience has increased, and artists have explored new horizons of digital media. “Additionally, a lot of rural artists have come to the forefront with the advent of social media,” she adds.
The artistic journey
“As an artist, I am drawn towards nature and its various elements. I am working on various series, majorly focusing on sustainable works,” Gunjan explains.
She says she is an enthusiast of slow art, which focuses more on the experience than the outcome. “My practice of cyanotype and slow stitching connects to the idea of simplicity, sustainability, and reflection," she says.
"In this digital age when the world is becoming impatient and falling for quick techniques, cyanotype for me is experiential and meditative,” she affirms.
Gunjan Shrivastava - The Victory Chronicles VI
At the exhibition, Gunjan showcased her series, The Victory Chronicles. It celebrates the positive triumphal woman, with all triumphs and scars included.
“Deeply embedded in our mind, body, and soul, every scar traces back to a story as it is a reminder of our victories, the battles that one has fought within and outside,” she describes.
“But, not all scars are outside and visible. They can be the most disruptive events in one’s life, leaving memories behind of the stories they tell,” Gunjan adds.
These scars are relics of experiences and define one’s journeys. “They form visual fragments of the adversity overcome and pain suffered, They are a witness to our endurance, narrating stories of babies born and tumours removed, even the stretch marks that have their trail,” she says.
Bandana Kumari - Bicycle Diaries - Pedal & Pose
2022: the road ahead
Many in the artistic community are expecting a better year ahead, despite the ongoing waves of the pandemic.
“Since things are slowly picking up in the art industry, it would be interesting to see how curators, galleries, and artists are collaborating in an innovative way,” Gunjan says.
“What I look forward to is more physical and online (hybrid) shows across varied cities in the country. We have to look at markets beyond Mumbai and Delhi as the art buying market is expanding rapidly,” Sapna Kar, co-founder, TheCurators.art affirms.
Sangeeta Singh - Conversation
“Young collectors now clearly see the importance that art brings to a home – probably at value-for-money prices. We at TheCurators also believe in promoting young artists who are at the inflection point of becoming coveted signature names,” she adds.
“We want to showcase them in group shows in prominent Tier II cities, where there is a demand for works like these,” Sapna signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues for your creative core?
Asit Patnaik - Intimate Whispers
Dinkar Jadhav - Celebration
Jehangir Sabavala - The Friend
Om Swami - Ganay
Samir Mohanty - The Play of Blossoms
Bandana Kumari - Luxury of Life II
Gurcharan Singh - The Party
Ramesh Gorjala - Ganesh
Sachindranath Jha - Bal Krishna
Sara Khalafi - The Royals I
Shiv Kumar Soni - Dreams of Childhood
Sreekanth Kurva - Bull (Benarasi) I
Vinita Dasgupta - Storyteller Cityscape II
Nishant Dange - Untitled