Beauty outside and within: Gallery Duomo’s stunning skyline as backdrop for the ‘Femme’ art exhibition

In this photo essay, we feature outstanding highlights from an art exhibition at the top of UB City in Bengaluru. We also share curator and artist insights - enjoy!
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Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 600 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery, world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

From March through the end of April, Gallery Duomo at UB City in Bengaluru is host to the exhibition titled Femme, featuring the works of nine women artists. It was launched to commemorate Women's Day.

The artist lineup includes Pushpa Dravid (mother of cricket icon Rahul Dravid), Soumya Chavan, Chethana Ravi, Alka Chadha Harpalani, Nandini Raikar, Runa Biswas, Nita Kembhavi, Ruchika KC, and Sujata Sah Sejekan.

The gallery was co-founded by Harish Kumar Sejekan; the curator, Sujata, is his wife as well. “She handpicked the artists keeping in mind their artistic and aesthetic excellence combined with their narratives,” Harish explains, in a chat with YourStory.

“Let's witness the magical world of the nine deviyas and cherish womanhood and the knitted thoughts,” Sujata describes.

A hub and market for art

Gallery Duomo, with a stunning rooftop setting at Skyye on the 16th floor of UB City, officially opened in December 2022. Harish proudly says that the gallery is open for viewing seven days a week, from noon till midnight, which is unique among art establishments.

More shows are planned later this year, with artists like Shri Krishna Setty and Mahendra Bhagat, as well as a show by ArtMantram Foundation.

“The opening art show featured works from noted Indian masters like MF Husain, legends like Yusuf Arakkal, and Karnataka-based artists like Ramesh Terdal,” Harish adds. There was also a massive Picasso head sculpture by ad veteran and artist Mahendra Bhagat.

“I think I have a responsibility on a larger scale to convince the wealthy to invest and buy art and promote younger artists. Art is often considered the last priority when it comes to investments,” Harish observes.

“My dream is that artists should be on par with movie stars, and everyone should dare to dream to be an artist,” he affirms.

He sees success for the gallery in inculcating art in the public, not just through sales. “There should be an appreciation of artists and more support through buyers. This will give more encouragement and confidence to artists,” Harish adds.

Pandemic impact

The Gallery aims to promote art to the public, particularly in these tough times as art has suffered majorly during the pandemic.

“An expansive art space in the centre of the city was needed. Tony Kunnell, an art connoisseur and architect and one of the brains behind the space, supported the cause with other stakeholders,” Harish explains.

“For the last few years, I have been diversifying myself in art. I realised that no matter how much we do for art, there is still a huge gap that needs to be filled,” Harish recalls. During the pandemic, he realised that there were many potential art buyers out there who did not know how to connect to artists.

“The pandemic was merciless for everyone. Every single person must have been affected to some extent,” artist-curator Sujata Sejekan explains.

“Artists are a more sensitive group of society. Though we were affected within, we know it is the supreme law of nature that everything comes with some good and some bad,” she adds.

The pandemic brought out waves of emotion and compassion. “Now people value things in their lives beyond the ego. I wish it will remain that way,” Sujata says.

“Selling works was tough, but still some of us managed to earn with the help of thoughtful art connoisseurs and local buyers. Artists are very patient and optimistic, and their experience has taken them through many failures,” she adds.

“I am confident that every artist has seen some failures in their journey. We compromise our needs in adverse conditions, but are still hopeful to bounce back in favourable circumstances,” Sujata affirms.

Artistic creativity

One of Sujata’s exhibited acrylic works on canvas is titled Anamika, with the ring finger representing the earth along with ripples spreading energy all around. She also showcased a self-portrait.

“Being a woman and a mother myself, I keep birthing new creations as a painter. I feel I understand and want to explore more of the universe, right down to every creature and cell,” Sujata enthuses.

“Every being and thing has some similar essence of a mother, a woman, a creator, a caretaker, a forgiver, with a heart of benevolence,” she adds.

“What I feel this, I realise I am fortunate to observe all these forms of mother Nature and wish others to have the same feeling. It's really divine when there are no boundaries or differences, just the main feeling of oneness,” Sujata affirms.

Another artwork is titled Mother, with the Sun nurtured in her womb. The white elephant and swan depict intelligence, purity and honesty. The tree reflects her character, with branches and fruits. “In all, it's about the start of something good, positive and happy,” she evocatively describes.

Messages and meaning

Sujata also offers words of advice for audiences and aspiring artists.

“Art is full-time learning, observation and expression. If you are ready from within to become an artist, you are an artist there itself. Just always be present with all your senses in every moment you live,” she suggests.

“There are uncountable things which are specially delivered for you by your surroundings. Observe them, communicate internally, and resonate with them. Not only will your skill help you to create unique art, but also your six senses put life in your art – unknowingly, or, better say naturally,” Sujata advises.

“Every artwork of yours will be filled with life and your vibes. Enjoy and practice many forms of art regularly, train yourself to become a skilled craftsperson, visualise things every moment, travel to different places, pick up new languages, and follow discipline,” she adds.

“Finally, believe in yourself, and don’t give up even in the face of challenges. Failure is parallel to creation in an artist's life. This word ‘failure’ is given by the world within the parameters of earning and recognition," she explains.

"In reality an artist never fails,” Sujata signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Suman Singh

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