Art Chennai 2012 - A Curtain Raiser
by Nalini S Malaviya
A week long celebration of modern and contemporary art is scheduled to be held this month in Chennai. The second edition of Art Chennai (March 11-18) promises to be on a larger scale with a renewed emphasis on southern India. As Sanjay Tulsyan, the convener of the festival and an avid art collector explains, “Over the years, I have been following various visual art initiatives being held both in India and internationally. While modern and contemporary art was making news the world over, it was sad to note that it was not being exposed to its full glory in the southern states of India. This negligence prompted me to create awareness in South India and thus the idea of Art Chennai evolved.”
The festival aims to bring art closer to the public and to provide visitors an opportunity to witness the journey and the evolution of Indian art, and create a platform to enable art lovers across the globe to interact with leading artists, curators, historians, collectors and gallerists to celebrate and explore art. Incidentally, it is the only art festival of its kind in Chennai which attempts to connect people from all strata of society and attempts to introduce contemporary art to a wider audience including the general public.
Last year, the event succeeded in creating a buzz and according to Tulsyan, “Art Chennai struck a chord with folks in Chennai and managed to create ripples amidst the art fraternity in other parts of the world. They unanimously appreciated the effort that went into an initiative of this kind, since it was conducted in the otherwise quiet state of the South which is culturally very vibrant towards other art forms. This made us aspire for a larger audience this year, and we have now set the road map in place for connecting with people across India and in a minor way reach an international audience as well.”
This year there are plans to organize Art Chennai at multiple public locations like shopping malls, IT parks, Marina beach as well as at art galleries and prominent star hotels. This multi-locale display will ensure participation and viewership of a larger and diverse audience. A few of the special initiatives this year include several large installations, a public art project curated by Koumudi Patil and a show titled To Let The World In, curated by Chaitanya Sambrani where leading contemporary artists from all over the country will be showcasing their works in Chennai for the very first time. Video art mapping and musical performances will also be organized this year. Art performances at public spaces and a video lounge 'No Man's Land' showcasing art films is also on the anvil.
The art conference is curated by Chaitanya Sambrani and will have presentations by leading members of the art community such as historians, curators, artists, collectors and others. Some of the participating speakers are T K Sabapathy, Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Shivaji K. Panikkar, Pushpamala N, Ranjit Hoskote, T Z Chang and Anupam Poddar amongst others.
In the long term, Art Chennai aims at becoming a festival which would be longer in duration and include other art forms as well and hopes to find a place in the international art calendar.