Passion, perspective, perseverance—Chitra Santhe artists on their creative journeys in art
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 670 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.
Regarded as India’s largest street fair for art, Bengaluru’s Chitra Santhe kicked off its 20th edition this month. Over a thousand artists from across India showcased a diverse range of styles, genres, themes, and mediums.
YourStory spoke to a range of artists on their creative journeys. In this article, they share insights on what art means to them, their experience at Chitra Santhe, and interactions with audiences and artists.
Meaning and passion
“What art means to me is very simple. The word EARTH cannot exist without the letters ART in it,” explains Bengaluru-based artist Manjunatha (‘MANZz’), in a chat with YourStory.
“Art is something that speaks out loud without any sound. As every artist says, the art and creativity keep me alive,” he adds. Some of his earlier works included a 50-foot portrait of film director Shankar Nag in Cubbon Park, using only ragi millets.
His current works involve carefully shattering glass, a technique he used to create portraits of Puneeth Rajkumar. These were showcased at Lalbagh and later in Belagavi.
His artworks are priced around Rs 35,000 each. “The most common feedback I received was, I haven’t seen anything like this before,” he proudly says.
“For me, art is a flow of energy. Most of the time I do not picturise the final outcome. The energy drives me and I go with the flow,” says Kerala artist Devi Pramod, who is now based in Bengaluru.
“The process is meditative and it is so joyous to see how the painting evolves,” she adds.
Art is a reflection of life for Hyderabad-based artist Rajeshwar Nannuta. He has been in the field of art for more than a decade. “During the pandemic, I prepared over 50 paintings,” he recalls. He has participated in solo and group shows at the national and international level.
“Art is indeed a reflection of my life,” affirms Bengaluru-based artist Hema Vinayak Patil. She has been an artist for over ten years. “It started as a hobby, but now I am a full-time professional in art,” she adds. She has named her firm Kaladarpana Artreflects.
“I always think that art is the most fabulous song of everyone's soul. Art makes people happy. It's mental therapy for people,” says Shrabani Misra, a native of Kolkata who has moved to Bengaluru.
“I had a love for art and painting from the beginning, but now it has become my passion. I left my earlier job, and my career and focus has been on art for the last six years,” she recalls.
“Art is not just an expression of emotions, but it also gives them a form to celebrate. The entire process unknowingly leads us towards the path of happiness,” says Uttara Karnataka artist Ganapathi Agnihothri, who is now based in Bengaluru.
“Art can definitely be called as a reflection of life. The expression is nothing but the reflection of what I am. Simulating others feels like cheating oneself,” he adds.
This was Devi Pramod’s first time at Chitra Santhe. “It was an amazing experience to be at this event. I got more responses and enquiries for my Sreerama Pattabhishekam, Radhakrishna and Kathakali paintings,” she describes.
“It's inspirational to see works of other artists, and it would definitely help and influence my future works,” she adds.
Hema Patil too says many in the audience appreciated her work. “That inspires me to do more works,” she affirms. Rajeshwar Nannuta was glad people appreciated his depiction of Telangana culture. His small-sized paintings were particularly appreciated.
“I got motivating feedback, and a few of the visitors to my booth want to learn from me. Some of them want me to help them with their interior decorations. A few artists also want to collaborate with me to grow their businesses,” Shrabani Misra enthuses.
Ganapathi Agnihothri received a lot of recognition for his depictions of wildlife. “I love to portray wild animals that are especially found in the Western Ghats of my hometown. The beauty of nature is reflected in my works,” he describes. His traditional and contemporary paintings are also well-liked.
“Any few issues I faced during the Chitra Santhe 2023 application processing were smoothened patiently and willingly by the organising team and volunteers,” explains Bengaluru-based artist Anusha Adabala.
Though her booth could have been in a cleaner and more accessible spot, she was happy with the overall experience. “The platform taught me a lot as an artist about patience, passion, loss, and luck,” she says.
“I met artists from different states who failed to even reap their travel and lodging expenses. But none of these deters from the experience of being surrounded by lakhs of visitors, that rush of creativity, that energy, that belongingness of being a part of it all, in that riot of colours, as an artist,” Anusha signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?
(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the fair.)
Edited by Kanishk Singh