Chennai’s newest art gallery is aptly titled ‘The Art.’ Located on Kasturi Rangan Road, it occupies the venue of an earlier art gallery, Art Houz. The inaugural exhibition, titled ‘New Beginning,’ reflects this transition from one gallery to another. The curator, Coimbatore-based artist Jitha Karthikeyan, joins us in an interview in Part II of this photo essay.
Modern art and tribal figures rub shoulders in four different styles: sculpture, water colour, acrylic, and black ink. The exhibition features five artists: Raviram VR, Sunil Lohar, Pushpakaran Kadappath, Sunil Lal TR, and Teppala Kodanda Rao. The art works are priced from Rs 8,000 to Rs 1,10,000.
Sunil Lal TR from Wayanad draws inspiration from the tribes of the Paniyars; his works have been exhibited overseas in France and Austria. Baroda-based Teppala Kondanda Raocaptures urban crowds in abstract paintings, and has exhibited in Singapore and Japan as well.
Raviram VR is the nephew of the late Indian sculptor PV Janakiram, and is a skilled sculptor in his own right, as shown in the five diverse copper exhibits on display. Though unable to speak or hear, his creative voice shines through in his art works on varied living forms.
Pushpakaran Kadappath from Velur in Kerala specialises in black ink depictions that have elements of magical realism and absurdity. For example, he playfully draws on his childhood fears of salesmen with large moustaches; other sketches are based on stories narrated to him by his grandmother. His works have been exhibited in Egypt and US.
“Art is a form of storytelling. It can express everything from the personal to the political, from social to spiritual,” said Pushpakaran, in a chat with YourStory. Art gives opportunities to continually explore new concepts and depict untold stories.
“Success for an artist comes from bridging theory and practice,” says Pushpakaran, who eventually wants to set up his own museums and galleries to nurture emerging artists as well as support social causes.
Find out what appeals to you, in terms of styles and themes – keep exploring them,” he advises audiences. “Lots of practice and creativity are required to succeed as an artist, along with the ability to see and convey meaning from all manner of surroundings,” he suggests, as tips to aspiring artists.
Sunil Lohar, from Karnataka, is pursuing a PhD in art and aesthetics at IIIT-Hyderabad. His water-colour paintings explore human aspects of carrying burdens, whether in cities or in nature. “Humans are always carrying ambitions, dreams, hopes and expectations,” he explains.
“Art is more than decoration. Art is a tool to think, it is also like a mirror to society. Art is in some ways the first universal human language. Art is knowledge itself, it is a way of being,” Sunil adds. Art increases sensitivity in human beings, which is a sign of strength and not weakness.
“Art is also connected to design, though design is meant to find solutions whereas art raises questions,” Sunil explains. “The definition of success for an artist keeps changing. Success is being on the right path, and not just reaching a destination,” he signs off.
Now what you have done today to explore the nature and nuances of art, and support artists in their expressive journeys?
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