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An artistic endeavour



A little girl looks in awe at a sculpture on display. --Photo: K.R. Deepak

Art defines culture and culture defines civilisation. From being one of the greatest civilisations in the world, we in India have come to a point where there is hardly any understanding or appreciation of art, little awareness of aesthetics and too few cultural events. The now ubiquitous television seems to have taken over other forms of culture and entertainment.

In such a bleak scenario, small attempts are being made in the city to bring in more interest in the culture and aesthetics of different art forms. It was a year back that Kshetra opened its portals, in an endeavour to create and offer public space for creative activities. It was envisaged as a place where young creative people would not only exhibit their work but also facilitate public interaction. The gallery has been holding exhibitions and art workshops for the last one year. "We promote upcoming artists by giving them a ground to exhibit their creativity", says its promoter, Vidya.

Last year the gallery was started with an aim to provide a place not only for the connoisseur of art but also for those who would like to share their creative ideas with one another. The gallery deals in paintings, sculptures, ceramics and collectibles. "This is a place where creative people can let their imaginations fly free on the moulds," says she. As an art promoter, Vidya sees the need to make art interesting to a largely unfamiliar audience. "There is no sustained movement to make people aware of the intricacies of different art forms," she feels.

From determinedly Indian to flagrantly international, from the romance of rural India to the blight of the city, from art as vocation to art as profession - art practice is going through a revolving door of rapid transition. "We want to highlight the different aspects of art by inviting artists from all over the country. The place not only promotes young and promising local artists but also gives a platform to the artists from places like Kolkata and Hyderabad", she says. Last month the gallery received an overwhelming response for a workshop in Tanjore painting.

On the occasion of its first anniversary, Kshetra Art Gallery is organising an exhibition of paintings and sculptures of some of the art practitioners of the city. The exhibition that will end on October 30 showcases the works of senior local artists like B. Maheshwar Das, C. Ravi Shankar Patnaik, Dr. M. Adinarayana, Krishna G.S.V., Sayya (Narasimham N.A.), Sistla Srinivas, Tummala Sudhakar Reddy, V. Ramesh, Venkat, V. Trinadha Rao and Visweswara Rao Kunchey. While some of these artists have devoted themselves wholly to their avowed art practices, the others are also dedicated art educationists, committed to bring out a whole generation of art-practitioners.

"We brace ourselves to expand our range of activities in the coming years and make them more participatory," avers Vidya. "A good painting is an excellent investment today. It is considered more valuable than gold or diamond," she adds. Aiming to cater for the palate of an art-loving patron while also serving aesthetics to a famished clientele, the gallery plans to hold many more workshops and expand its reach to the adjoining areas as well. Yet it is not as easy as one might imagine. Even the curriculum in schools ignores art and music. In such a situation, only love for art sustains these galleries.

NIVEDITA GANGULY

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