Sunday, August 23, 2009

Painted with Passion !

Here we go, with the article published in "Graphiti" the Sunday magazine of The Telegraph news paper, published for the international readers of this blog. The Magazine has a print run of 0.5 million and a readership of close to 1 million. An update on the India Art Summit follows soon .......

Let me talk about some art initiatives and how some people in our country are trying their best to promote Contemporary art which will make the genre all the more sought after in years to come. A lot of private individuals are doing their bit by taking private initiatives to further the cause of Contemporary art.

Anupam Poddar took a fantastic initiative with the Devi Art Foundation by opening his collection with curated shows in the heart of Gurgaon to all. He has had students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) come and curate a show which involved the community in the art world.

On a much bigger scale, Rakhi Sarkar has an ambitious plan to create a 10-acre museum in Rajarhat called the Kolkata Museum of Modern Art. This is being designed by the acclaimed Swiss architectural duo Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. The project, backed by passion, will contribute to the larger cause of promoting art.

We have a history of arts and culture but if you go back before 2004, most of the earlier artists hardly had any money and what kept them going was just a love for art.

As passion, creativity and talent sometimes get blurred in a haze of commercialisation, it is refreshing to see some galleries encourage new talent just fresh out of college. Bhavna Kakar from Latitude 28 has done a show for the graduating class of Vadodara earlier in the year which featured interesting works from Shreyas Karle, Sandip Pisalkar, Bhavin Mistry and others.

Rajesh Ram’s ‘Pothi padhe padhe jag mua pandit hua no koi/ Dhai akshar prem ke padhe so pandit hoye’

I was also very impressed with what Sree Goswami is doing at her gallery Project 88 in Mumbai. In these recession-hit times, I see the galleries shying away from doing shows to keep costs low. But Goswami went ahead and did First Look 2009. It was a brave decision, without an eye on the bottom line.

She showed five artists from the graduating class of Maharaja Sayaji Rao Art college at a time when even well-known Contemporary artists are finding it tough to sell their works.

I was curious and went and had a look. I was extremely impressed with an eloquent work by Sidhartha Karwal that carried the inscription, “My generation is silent! A sign of our times as we live sometimes not saying anything till it affects our life and not speaking out for what is right”. A strong message conveyed using an installation and canvas.

My Generation is Silent by Sidhartha Karwal

This is very different art with a limited following. Art on canvas or paper still is the first choice for most collectors. This whole installation was sold for Rs 50,000 which just about covered the cost of the work.

We need many galleries like this with a genuine love and enthusiasm for art to keep shows going, downturn or no downturn. Also accolades only come with risk which may be one of the reasons that Project 88 will be the only gallery representing India at the prestigious Contemporary “Frieze Art Fair” in London.

One of the most notable initiatives without any financial gain in the art space has been Indian Art News. It started out as a simple website which delivered art news directly to your e-mail. The site sent out daily information on what’s happening in the art world — and that too on a daily basis without a subscription charge. Deepak Shahdadpuri, who is an avid collector, then took it to a larger scale by revamping the website and creating a social network

Today it has over 2,500 members exchanging views on a minute-by-minute basis, discussion forums and event updates.
If I ever want to know the latest auction results at Sotheby’s or any of the other auction houses and even information on what the atmosphere in the auction room was like, then just checking the discussion forum is the easiest and the most reliable way.

It’s a great service to the Indian art world and it helps to educate both collectors and upcoming artists. I have met so many artists on the forum and actually connected with them on buying their works and even discussed the logic behind their art.

Next week we will take a look at the recently concluded India Art Summit, where the action has been thick and fast.

Kapil Chopra is Senior Vice President of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. He writes a blog on collecting and investing in Indian Contemporary Art at He also writes for "The Telegraph" newspaper Sunday magazine "Graphiti" every fortnight. In Delhi he has written for the "Mail Today" newspaper and "First City" Magazine.


Ashutosh said...

Hello Kapil,

Over the weekend, read through all the articles that you have posted on your blog.

You have done a great job of putting your opinion into words and sharing it. Art as a investment avenue sounds really esoteric and exotic. Very few people (esp. from middle class background) really venture into it. At least, I for one don't know of any one in my acquaintance who has invested in art.

The biggest challenge here, as you have rightly pointed out, is valuation (at current level) and future worth.

For a novice to understand and value and artwork seems to be really a very tough job.

Gradually as awareness about Art investment increases, I foresee Art Funds which work on a SIP model to gain popularity and also art advisors covering works at the lower end (less than Rs. 50,000) to come into picture.

Keep posting


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That is an interesting article..

Im just an amateur artist and was just going through some art blogs..

I have uploaded some or my art on my blog.. Would love an opinion...

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