Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 510 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 a range of artworks along with insights from the participating artists at Chitra Santhe 2021. See Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V of our coverage.
The 18th edition of the annual art exhibition is being held entirely online this year. It features the works of over 1,000 artists from India and overseas. Hosted by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, the exhibition has been extended by one month till the end of February. The festival website provides artist contact information and artwork prices.
See also YourStory’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 is a kind of meditation for me. Art is my own time, my creativity beyond imagination, my colourful world,” says Anupama PG, in a chat with YourStory.
“More than money and awards, success for me as an artist comes from the internal happiness and satisfaction that I draw from it,” she adds. Her artworks are priced from Rs 8,000 to Rs 50,000.
She calls for more art appreciation in India. “Appreciation of art is in itself an art! Hence this needs to be developed and cultivated right from childhood, with more emphasis given in schools,” Anupama urges.
Though the pandemic was a tough time, she kept herself busy with artwork and exploration. “In fact, I have done more work during the lockdowns,” she says.
“The advantage of an online exhibition is its wide reach, but the downside is people generally want to see and feel the physical paintings, which is not possible,” she observes.
Anupama also offers words of advice for aspiring artists. “Increase your skills and continue to learn no matter what. Hard work and dedication will always pay off,” she says.
“Art is what artists devote their whole lives to, in order to create and sustain the world,” explains Thai artist Anuchai Secharunputong.
“As an artist, success is a mastery of the soul, and an ability to turn an abstract idea into something substantial, into concrete art,” he adds.
He calls for greater appreciation of art in Asian countries. “It is something we have to be born into and raised with. In Europe, art has been a part of people’s lives for centuries,” he observes.
They absorb art even without seeming to notice it. “Children regularly go to museums and galleries with pencil and paper to draw. In almost every corner, they have beautiful architecture and great sculptures,” Anuchai says.
To improve art appreciation, one should start with children. “We should create an art environment for them. We adults should realise that this is an important issue,” he emphasises.
For Chitra Santhe, Anuchai exhibited artworks with the concept of “Inside out, Outside in” – a “subconscious paradox of human existence.” They are priced at USD 3,300 each.
“It represents a truth and illusion between inner and outer aspects of life, which we cannot really find only with our own eyes. What we see may not be what we get,” he explains.
Despite the hardships during the coronavirus pandemic, he managed to get more peace and more time to himself. “I get to investigate myself, my soul, human nature, and even the world. The most important thing is I got to respect nature more, and realised how tiny we all are,” Anuchai describes.
Online exhibitions evoke mixed feelings in him. “The advantage of an online exhibition is exposure to the whole world. It is almost like an easy-access door to the art world,” he says.
“But on the contrary, there is lack of a real relationship and impact that art usually has on you. It almost devalues the emotional value,” he laments.
“For aspiring artists, I only have one word of advice: Do. Do, do and do. And you will learn what you do, and finally, be the best of what you do,” Anuchai advises.
“Art to me is like meditation, where I can connect to my true self, my happy self. The whole process of creating an artwork is very de-stressing for me,” Ankita Jain explains.
“It gives me a lot of positive vibes. So my paintings are always very colourful, cheerful, bringing a space alive,” she proudly says.
“Also art helps me appreciate God’s creation in all forms and types. Everything around is beautiful – just pause for a moment to enjoy it,” she urges.
Ankita sees success for herself as an artist in being able to create a piece she envisioned, and in keeping on challenging herself with every new work. “Commercial success and awards are important to get noticed and reach a wider audience,” she adds.
For better art appreciation, she calls on people to see the process of making the artwork to understand the true value of art and artists. “I like the way there are more workshops these days for beginners, where they learn about art and thereby appreciate it,” Ankita observes.
She visited Chitra Santhe last year to see and understand the different styles of work, and prepared to exhibit this year. “I tried different styles of art, and tried to view my work from a buyer’s point of view to see if it evoked interest,” she explains. Her paintings are priced from Rs 2,000 to Rs 15,000.
During the pandemic, art helped her stay calm and be optimistic. “That reflected in my art work. We all got that time to pause and look around and enjoy the simple joys and beauty of life,” Ankita recalls.
The advantage of having Chitra Santhe online this year was the international reach, and also the fact that it was held for a whole month and not just a packed one-day fair, she observes. “But I miss the one-on-one interaction and reactions of people that happens in physical exhibition – that is very motivating and rewarding,” she adds.
“To all aspiring artists, I would say keep practising, improving and improvising. Be consistent and original. You may slow down but don’t give up,” Anupama urges.
She cites the popular adage: Look for excellence, and success will follow on its own!
“Art means everything to me. Art gives satisfaction and peace,” says self-taught pencil portrait artist Bhargavi Dongre.
“The satisfaction I get when I complete a realistic pencil portrait is beyond words. When people understand the effort behind the art, when they appreciate the effort, or when they notice the detailing, it gives a great feeling,” she proudly says.
She works at an IT company which has frequent art exhibitions. “We have a fine arts club to explore various art forms. This can be planned at higher levels in different localities to improve art appreciation,” Bhargavi recommends.
“We had an exhibition planned in our corporate office. But due to the pandemic, it did not happen. I had started working on realistic portraits for that, but just continued working on more portraits, which are displayed at Chitra Santhe,” she says. Her A4 and A2 size portraits sold for Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.
“Due to the pandemic, we had to work from home. I have utilised my free time for art, improved my expertise, and explored different art forms,” Bhargavi recalls.
“The advantage of having the exhibition online is that art is a single click away. We can go through the Chintra Santhe website anytime we want. But I miss the crowd in the physical exhibition and the direct interaction with global artists,” she laments.
“Believe in yourself, and keep learning,” Bhargavi advises aspiring artists.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to harness your creative core?