Art News & Views


A month has passed since I penned my first note to you dear reader. I had expressed my concern about the lack of government patronage in promoting Indian art overseas. And this month, I am happy to inform you that we, at Emami Chisel Arts and Aakriti Gallery have been able to take a step, albeit small, but significant, in promoting contemporary Indian artists in Europe through the India-Sweden Cultural Exchange Programme.

One may wonder, why Sweden of all places. But if one looks closely, one will see that Indian Contemporary art has been displayed in the U.K, U.S.A, Germany, France and other countries, but not that much to Northern Europe. Sweden therefore is an ideal place to start off, since our venture is to take Indian Art to the places where it had not been showcased frequently.

It has neither been easy, nor has the preparation been short. One had to keep in mind that after the spurt of Festivals of India on foreign shores in the Eighties, there was a lull almost of two decades. During this time, India has changed internally, as well as in world perspective. Hence this cultural exchange programme had to be synthesized with the changing paradigms of global perception of India as well as the steady growth of interest among overseas investors, who have started seeing this country as a potential investment option.

It was in this milieu that one and half years back, Mr. Oscar Aschen, Director of Oagallery, visited the Aakriti Art Gallery at Kolkata during the GenNext III Show and proposed this exchange programme to me. Later, six months back the Mayor of Gothenburg visited Kolkata and finalized the cultural exchange programme. It was then finalized that this programme will be supported by Emami Chisel Art, Aakriti Art Gallery-Kolkata, Vasa Konsthal and Gallery Scandinavia in Gothenburg along with Aschan & Co. The Emami Group, The city of Gothenburg and the Culture Ministry of Sweden will be the chief patrons of this project in close collaboration with the Swedish Embassy in India.

Thus on May 8 this year, the first step of the exchange programme was taken with an Indian Fashion Show held at the Elite Park Hotel, Gothenburg that featured some of the best names in the Indian fashion industry like Wendell Rodricks and Prasad Bidapa, Along with them, came works by Rahul Mishra and Neelanjana Ghose too. This was supported by Emami Chisel Art & Aakriti Art Gallery. Head sponsors of the fashion show were the City of Gothenburg, Västra Götalands Regionen, Aschan & Co. and Volvo buses.

And this month, we stand on the second step that of organizing a gala exhibition of contemporary Indian art from August 10 at Gothenburg where an estimated seven lakh odd visitors are expected at the show.

But we plan not just to stop at taking India abroad. We also expect to bring Sweden home, and as a part of that plan, a contemporary Swedish art exhibition is planned in Kolkata in December, 2010 at Emami Chisel Art and Aakriti Art Gallery. Amit and Aschen are working to identify the important contemporary Swedish artists whose work will be exhibited at the exhibition, and at the moment, I can promise that Kolkata will get to see some major Swedish artist's work. A Golf-tournament is also planned during that time and Swedish delegates will interact with the Chambers of Commerce in Kolkata.

And to commemorate the occasion, a special issue of ART ETC magazine on contemporary Swedish art will be published. The issue has been planned to focus on several Swedish artists- both young and old- who are doing cutting-edge works. The issue will bring to light the influence of the famous film-maker Ingmar Bergman over Swedish art. It will also highlight the climatic conditions which affect an artist's moods and thinking, thus answering an important question which has egged art critics and enthusiasts over the

- Vikram Bachhawat



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art etc. news & views is a monthly magazine published from India in order to promote art and culture. It intends to raise awareness about art all around India and the world. The magazine covers art exhibitions, auction highlights, market trends, art happenings besides Antique, Collectibles, Fashion, Jewellery, Vintage, Furniture, Film, Music and Culture.