Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YS, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 520 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.
In this photo essay series, we profile artworks and creative insights from the participating artists at Chitra Santhe 2021. See our full ten-part coverage here.
Hosted by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, the 18th edition of the annual art festival was held virtually this year due to the pandemic. The online exhibition wrapped up last week, and featured over 1,000 artists from India and overseas.
See also YS’s coverage of six earlier editions of Chitra Santhe: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015, as well as compilations of Top Quotes of 2020 on Art in the Era of the Pandemic, Indian Art, Art Appreciation and Practice, and Beauty and Business of Art.
“Art brings comfort and happiness in life; it gives meaning to life. Most of my paintings reflect the vitality that touches the soul, so art is my life,” explains Bhapinlal DK, in a chat with YS. Based in Kerala, he has exhibited his artworks at shows in other states as well, including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, and New Delhi-NCR.
“The most important thing for an artist is to paint. If we do any painting sincerely, we will get the success we deserve,” he describes. He regards art appreciation as key importance to society. “When more people are trained to appreciate art, our society can become more civilised, and people can be better,” he adds.
Bhapinlal’s artworks reflect his imagination and optimism. “I have tried to make pictures in such a way that everyone who sees my pictures feels a positive energy,” he adds.
Though the pandemic was a period of financial difficulty, he continued to create and paint. “There has been a shortage of paint and canvas,” he observes.
Having the Chitra Santhe exhibition online this year had its advantages. “Chitra Santhe is the largest art platform in India. The advantages of the online exhibition are that it is accessible to all,” Bhapinlal explains. Showcasing it for two months instead of a single day also helped.
“If artists sincerely complete their works of art, they will increase their entitlement and confidence in society. Everyone should make the most of their abilities so that there will be success in life,” he advises aspiring artists.
The pandemic and associated lockdowns were times of hardship, but also took artists on new journeys. “Although it was very difficult to lock ourselves within our boundaries, there were no other options,” recalls Banani Kundu.
“Alternatively, it allowed me to get rid of other external duties so I could invest my time completely in my artwork. I took my art journey full-time, starting from the lockdown, and this has become my daily routine,” she says.
For Chitra Santhe, she exhibited artworks in two categories: devotional and social issues. “Terrible Shriek was based on the recent atrocities in UP, while Ray of Hope was designed for the awareness of menstruation issues in rural India,” Banani explains.
Legacy of Hospitality is a representation of a socio-religious event. “The motivation of all my paintings is from positive or negative events in my surroundings,” she says.
She appreciates the wide reach of online shows. “The biggest advantage of online exhibitions is that distance does not matter. I applied for some online exhibitions abroad as well, which would have otherwise been very difficult,” she enthuses.
“The online medium exposed artists to the international art lover community, which I personally took as a challenge. I quickly upgraded myself based on the needs of international viewers,” Banani explains.
“But I still miss the people-to-people connect we get in a physical exhibition. The pleasure and satisfaction of explaining my artwork to my viewers, and getting direct feedback is a priceless experience any day,” she says.
Still, she is pleased with the feedback she got at Chitra Santhe, from artists, as well as art lovers. “It is very good to know that people liked my artworks and understood my thoughts behind the paintings,” Banani proudly says.
“Painting on leather is the result of my experiments over the years. I create paintings with leather colours, photo colours, and pen and ink on leather,” explains Kolkata-based artist Anirban Sheth. Though the process is laborious and time-consuming, he relishes the results.
After the tanning process, he uses colours on leather to create images from life, nature, spirituality, and rationality. “This work can be done only in the humidity-free winter months,” Anirban says.
He has won a number of awards for his works exhibited in India and abroad, with themes of environmental conservation, nature, and animal rights. “We need to protect and not plunder the environment,” he urges.
He has been painting since he was 16-years-old and has exhibited at the Jehanjir Art Gallery (Mumbai), Birla Academy (Kolkata), Art World (Chennai), and Aurodhan Art Gallery (Pondichery), among others. Overseas, his works have been shown in over a dozen countries.
“Artists have to inform and educate society about art and encourage people to attend exhibitions. We have to take artworks to the people so that they can be more easily acquainted with them and appreciate them,” PB Gavani advises.
He sees art as a reflection of life and prepared paintings for Chitra Santhe based on rural life. “I played with colours on the canvas, and created the artworks with a lot of passion and excitement by enjoying the colours,” he enthuses. His artworks are priced from Rs 30,000 to Rs 60,000.
During the pandemic, he explored more ideas and themes for artworks. “Through online exhibitions, we can connect more easily with artists and audiences from other nations,” Gavani adds.
But he misses the personal connections from physical events and learning about buyer opinions and interests as they view the artworks. They can also buy and own the artworks on the spot.
“Keep on working. Explore your ideas and bring them to life in the form of your paintings. Keep loving what you do,” Gavani signs off, as advice for aspiring artists.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to harness your creative core?