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Art on the move

Lokayata Benefit Art Gallery in Hauz Khas is the first-ever drive-in art gallery in the world. A dream come true of the late Mulk Raj Anand, it celebrates his 100th birth anniversary this Monday with a group show.


IN LATE 1970s, the famous author and art connoisseur Mulk Raj Anand wanted to start a driving art gallery. He wasn't happy about people's almost non-existent interest in art. He knew it wasn't worth waiting for people to come and visit the conceived art gallery. So to take art to the masses, he conceived the idea of a mobile art gallery. He shared his views to one of his close pals, Kewal Anand. He took it upon himself to concretise his dream. Hence around one-and-a-half year back, he came out with Lokayata, a non-profit art, music and theatre institution at Hauz Khas village. Now it has become the first drive-in art gallery in the globe as Anand claims. But hold on! Don't be taken for a ride with the word `driving' here. This gallery, actually a dome-like structure in a huge area which has a wall area of 120 running seats, mounts the art works in an arc-shaped wall which is frontal open and hence can be viewed from outside even if you are driving in a car inside the premises called Lokayata. Hence, you can have a sneak into the art works sitting inside your car while taking a round of this arc. Anand calls it as the first such driving art gallery in the world.

What makes this Lokayata Benefit Art Gallery unique is that it is not for established artists but only for young and upcoming artists from all over India and the world across, who can exhibit their works without sharing a percentage as commission to the art gallery. "But a small portion of the sales of their art work goes for a noble cause and that's a protocol," informs Anand. Take for instance; a small portion of the proceeds of the sales went to Mulk Raj's free dispensary in Khandala and Tihar prisoners a few months back. The artists who come from outstation are also provided travel fare.

Satire on people

"Actually this art gallery is a satire on people, especially those who only look at art and don't see it. We take art works to people to make them aware of the abundance of talent that India has. We only act as catalyst for the young artists," Anand adds.

Lokayata is not just an art gallery but it also provides hobby art classes thrice a week, the charge for which is a nominal of Rs.500 per month. "We have an art faculty having more than 60 years of experience," Anand informs. And there is more. Lokayata also conducts music and theatre workshops for children. This Monday it celebrates the 100th birth anniversary of its founder Mulk Raj Anand with a group show of 100 art works of 100 artists at 6.30 p.m. This show will have only 13 celebrity artists as Satish Gujral, Jatin Das and Ameena Kar, etc but the rest are those who either are first-timers or exhibiting after a long gap because of lack of finances. Take for instance, a Hyderabad artist's creation was exhibited in 1965 and this is the second time his works are displayed here.

RANA SIDDIQUI

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