Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi - India Art Festival brings its creativity showcase to broader communities

In our photo essay from this three-city festival series, we showcase artistic highlights and curator perspectives on creativity.

Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi - India Art Festival brings its creativity showcase to broader communities

Sunday December 31, 2023,

5 min Read

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 735 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.

Founded in 2011, the India Art Festival (IAF) is now held across three cities. The current schedule covers the months of November (New Delhi) and December (Bengaluru), with the Mumbai edition slotted for February 2024 (see our five-part coverage of the earlier edition here).

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In this photo showcase, we feature the works of a range of exhibiting artists including Manoj Das, Ghanshyam Gupta, Manoj Kumar Swain, Sreekumar KB, and Sudha Adarsh. The Bengaluru edition featured 100 booths and 3,500 artworks by 400 artists and 25 galleries.

“Art is a profound reflection of life and a journey into the depths of the soul. It serves as a medium to express the intricacies of human experiences and emotions,” art curator Erum Khan, Founder of Aura Planet in New Delhi, tells YourStory.

Over the past two decades, she has curated 300 offline exhibitions and 50 virtual exhibitions. “Improving art appreciation in India involves fostering art education, cultural initiatives, and promoting diverse artistic expressions,” she explains.

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Engaging the community through workshops, exhibitions, and educational programs helps cultivate a deeper understanding and connection with art. “Currently, we’re involved in several projects aimed at providing emerging artists with prominent platforms for exposure and growth,” Khan says.

“I studied at some premium colleges and worked in a corporate setup for many years, but always felt like a square peg in a round hole. It is only through creating art that I found the connection to my inner self,” mixed-media artist Mrinalini Shingal explains.

Art has also been her route to self-discovery. “It truly fuels my soul every day,” she enthuses. Her biggest inspiration has been Mother Nature.

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Erum Khan

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“Nature not only inspires me but also provides me the tools to create my artworks. I often use natural materials like stones, leaves, and twigs in my works,” Shingal says. She began rock painting during the pandemic when she ran out of canvases.

In her journey, she has created more than 100 paintings on canvas and more than 200 paintings on rocks. At IAF 2023, she prepared big canvases on nature and rock paintings on wildlife, such as lizards, owls, squirrels, and snakes.

“With rocks, the most challenging part is to decide what to paint on it! Oftentimes, the rock itself speaks to me about what it wants to become. But sometimes it just sits on my desk for days before I finally know what to paint on it,” Shinghal describes.

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Mrinalini Shingal

Some of her painted rocks are priced from Rs 1,500 to Rs 20,000. Her canvas paintings are in the Rs 5,000 – Rs 50,000 range.

She calls for more art appreciation in society. “Art shouldn’t be classified only as a hobby. It has the potential to turn into a financially viable and satisfying career if given the right opportunities at the right time,” she explains.

There needs to be more content about Indian art and the art industry as well. “Museums, art galleries and regular crafts fairs can help the public engage with art,” Shinghal recommends.

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“Art is like holding up a mirror to life and taking a deep dive into the soul. It is this amazing way I have found to speak without using words,” charcoal artist Gautam Bansal explains.

“Art is this bridge that connects us all. It crosses over differences and bringing us together in a pretty incredible way,” he adds. The Bengaluru-based artist started his own company in graphic design, but now devotes himself largely to art.

The balance between art and freelance design gigs lets him explore different creative avenues and enrich both worlds with his skills. “I've also given back to society by teaching charcoal workshops at an NGO dedicated to autism,” Bansal adds.

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For IAF 2023, he created four pieces: 'Dahaad' (Roar), 'Elephant Whispers', 'Jashn' (Celebration), and 'Shubharambh' (Auspicious Beginning). They depict the grandeur of wildlife, soul of creation, elegance of movement, and spiritual calm.

“Each artwork encapsulates a distinct story. It is meticulously crafted to convey emotions, narratives, and reflections of diverse themes that resonate deeply within me as an artist,” Bansal describes. His artworks are priced from Rs.30,000 to Rs 2 lakhs.

He believes art appreciation can be increased in society by bringing art talks and workshops into schools. “Artists should also be given accessible and viable platforms to showcase their work, along with art exchange and residency programmes,” he recommends.

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“Art exhibitions in public spaces like parks make it visible and easy to find. The more art we see, the more we can get into it. Setting up chillout spaces can help people chat about art,” Bansal adds.

He also calls for more digital platforms to popularise art. “Virtual art tours, online galleries—let's make art available and stand out with just a click for any age group,” Bansal signs off.

Now what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and harness your creative side for a better world?

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Megha Soni

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Isha Valentine

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Shyam Verma

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(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the festival.)

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