The Month that was
June – July 2011
by Franck Barthelemy
Today my review's title matches with the content. Art Bengaluru is the talk of the town. Art Chutney, Sublime Galleria and The Collection, UB City have joined hands to organize the second edition of the city contemporary art festival, the biggest so far. 17 galleries from Bangalore, Chennai, Kanpur, Gurgaon and Kolkata displayed over 300 artworks by over 100 artists for 10 days. Art Bengaluru was the first art event in the city using the QR technology to connect smart phones' users directly to the festival website, where they can check the programmes, the profiles of the participants, etc. The organizers lined up renowned speakers to talk about their art practise. Krsna Mehta introduced his works to the public. Besides being a visual artist, Krsna is also a successful designer. He is the design director for Good Earth. Both in his practise and in his work, Krsna blends styles bridging East and West. Johny ML is probably the most famous art blogger in India. He analyses, criticizes and explains the art scene in India. Johny is also a curator and movie maker. He showed 10 short videos by Manjunat Kamat, Murali Cheeroth or Babu Eshwar Prassad to quote a few. Johny used the videos to illustrate a paper on the contemporary video art scene in India, its ups and downs. John Debraj, a multi facetted artist, photographer, movie maker, puppeter, performer, sculptor. He works with kids and invents art for them. John took his audience through the 10 commandments of Art according to him. Saad Khan showed On My Mind a short movie that was premiered at the LA & Acadiana Film Festival in 2009. Saad, a short movie maker, was selected for the Cannes International Film festival in 2008. Arpana Caur, the acclaimed painter, proposed us an introduction to her art practise, how she established a style and created a universe of her own. Arpana's works are in museums all around the world.
Art Bengaluru also thought about offering art opportunities to children and organized an art competition. 500 kids took part of it. S.G. Vasudev, Murali Cheeroth and Babu Eswar Prasad selected the best drawings and rewarded the best works. Some of the kids' drawings would have easily found a place in the galleries' exhibition boots! And the adults who wanted to try their luck with a creative moment were offered a stained glass workshop. I am not sure they were as creative as the kids though …
Art Bengaluru finally organized the first ever Art and Luxury charity auction supporting the HCG Foundation raised funds to help them providing free treatments to cancer patients who cannot afford them. At the hammer, Angira Arya, an auctioneer of many records, sold the first MF Hussain at an auction in Calcutta for more than a million dollars. The lead auction works were specially made by four Bangalore based artists, SG Vasudev, Yusuf Arakkal, Murali Cheeroth and Gurusidappa. They signed their works in public to open the auction preview, well supported by a bunch of celebrities.
At the occasion of the festival, Art Bengaluru offered a press opportunity to a dozen of city artist, most of them young and upcoming. They talk about Bangalore, the city that inspires all of them. Some have been brought up in Bangalore, some have come to Bangalore. All of them have found something attaching here. They are the new generation of artists and represent the diversity of the Bangalore art scene and its search for novelties. When questioned about Art Bengaluru, they all see the festival as a wonderful platform to meet people, art lovers, wanderers, art discoverers. They were very excited about the event. The participating artists have made special works for the 10 day long open gallery. The non participating ones are curious to see their peers' new works.