Reflect, reinvent, recover – creativity and pandemic resilience tips from the artists of Chitra Santhe 2022
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 festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The 19th annual edition of Chitra Santhe was held recently in Bengaluru, with a dedication to the freedom fighters of India to mark 75 years of independence (see Part I of our coverage here).
The 2021 edition was held virtually due to the pandemic, and was dedicated to the coronavirus frontline warriors. The annual art festival is hosted by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru.
“My works are inspired by nature. I like to explore contemporary art with a tinge of spirituality, explains Bengaluru-based artist Anupama PG, in a chat with YourStory.
Her works have been widely exhibited in a range of galleries and festivals. “For Chitra Santhe, I showcased many contemporary works called Mystic Moods, Hope series, and paintings of Buddha and Ganesha,” she adds.
“Art is an innate and unique expression of imagination and creativity of colours. It’s ‘me’ time,” Anupama describes.
She urges audiences to learn more about art so they build the ability to appreciate its creativity. “It is a key to happiness,” she suggests.
“Like so many others, the pandemic affected me a lot. We lost our loved ones, and sitting at home without work was so depressing,” laments Jayanti Bhattacharjee.
“But during that time, my art helped me cope with everything. It was like meditation,” she adds.
“Mandalas were my childhood passion. It was during the lockdown of 2020 that I restarted my artwork,” Shradha Joshi explains. “My family and friends loved my work, and that motivated me to take this as my profession instead of my corporate career,” she adds.
Since then, there has been no looking back. “I pursued Madhubani because its art form and history fascinated me,” Shradha enthuses.
“The pandemic has affected every single person worldwide. As an artist, the biggest challenge I faced was to socialise and promote my work,” she says.
But she used this time to develop her skills, and create more paintings and artworks. “Being positive helped me utilise this phase to plan and execute things when the lockdown was lifted,” Shradha adds.
“Chitra Santhe is always the most awaited time to showcase art. You get to interact with other artists as well,” Faazilah Ahmed enthuses.
She sold three paintings this year. “People are very specific about what they need, and what type of art they are looking to buy,” she observes. But she feels the crowd this year was comparatively than previous years.
Artist-entrepreneur Kavitha Sunil, who founded Tada Fine Arts Academy in 2014, was also hit hard by the pandemic. “The art academy was my pride and joy, but I had to close it down in March 2020,” she laments.
She missed teaching and spreading her art skills to future artists. “However, the journey did take me to professional art projects. For the Kimmane Golf Resort in Shimoga, I completed 50 fine art paintings in four months, from June to September 2020,” Kavitha proudly says.
The works included a nature series painting in every room and suite, an element-series abstract painting in the banquet hall, and wood installations for the bar lounge. “I also did multiple villa projects,” she adds.
“The pandemic gave me a chance to take a break from the hectic schedule I normally have,” recalls Marissa D Miranda, an upcycled metal artist. She has worked with art communities in Africa and across the Middle East as well.
During the pandemic, she could introspect on what is necessary, prioritise, and break away from old habits. “The pandemic gave me the chance to spend more time in studio work. As I work with metal, I could spend longer hours to hone and perfect my process,” she adds.
“The pandemic led to large-scale loss and darkness. I have lost a few near and dear ones due to the pandemic in the past two years,” laments Bengaluru-based artist Sreeja Suresh.
“But the same pandemic has made me come closer to art and has helped me clear my thoughts about what I'd want to make of my career. It was only during the pandemic that I decided to become an artist,” she recalls.
“I really hope and pray that the pandemic is indeed easing,” Benagluru-based artist Kanchan Rathna says. “It has been a very tough and tense time, especially for art professionals,” she recalls.
“The pandemic not only kept us artists cooped up inside our homes and barred us from social interactions, but also made it impossible for any shows to happen physically,” she laments.
This meant that art lovers and patrons could not engage with artworks. It cut down sales and commissions sharply.
“So the pandemic easing can only be good news for all of us artists and exhibitors. We can hope for some kind of normalcy to come back into our lives,” Kanchan signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?