Archive for January, 2012

Art is often the preserve of the elite and most art related organizations also continue in that vein; but the Karnataka Chithra Kala Parishath (CKP) strives to be different by organizing an event called “Chithra Santhe” every year. A literal translation of Chithra Santhe means Picture Market and CKP calls it “Art for All”. This is the ninth such event happening at Bangalore. While we had heard about this a couple of years back, we had never visited it and so we were determined to go this time.

The event itself lasts for just one day and is organized in the road (Kumara Krupa Road) where CKP is located. The road, which is about a kilometre and a half long, is closed off for the day and art works are exhibited on pavements on both sides of the road. This road, incidentally, is where the Chief Minister has his official residence and it is all the more impressive that they manage to hold this event here.

The first thing that struck me as we arrived at Kumara Krupa Road was the crowd. The road was quite packed and I could well believe the press report that I had read in the morning which had said that the organisers were expecting around 200,000 people to turn up. There were people everywhere – some were buying, some just looking or some posing for portraits. I could also see some people with cameras. The most important aspect I noticed was that the crowd consisted mostly of ordinary people and not the elite or intelligentsia; so the event seems to have met the objective of the organisers.

The whole event was a riot of colours and was dominated by paintings. There were some handicraft items as well but those were very few. The paintings themselves were of many different types with sceneries and life-like depictions making up for the bulk of the works on display. An interesting item was a display of bottles with paintings on them. There were works from 800 artists or so and many seem to have come from places outside Karnataka as well. Sale prices for the paintings were very varied as well with a range from Rs. 300 to 75,000.

There were some abstract works also on display and some of them were quite eye catching. In particular, I like some pencil drawings and a couple of paintings – some of the themes were quite bold indeed.

One artist and his work stood out and I had a brief chat with him. His name was Bharath and what caught my eye was that his work was quite different from all others. The most prominent piece was the painting of a toilet and that reminded me of Duchamp’s work. I asked Bharath about the idea behind the painting and he said that he drew it today morning as he wanted to “shock” the spectators that come for the event. He had not heard of Duchamp’s exhibition of the inverted urinal and if he is to be believed, this is original thought from him. Another painting he had was done on a page of “The Economic Times” and this was done because he found it interesting that a businessman could use it to check his stocks while a street vendor could use it to pack “pakodas”. Brief as it was, I enjoyed the conversation with him.

Overall, the event was quite enjoyable and Sandhya and I left with a sense of satisfaction after spending a couple of hours. This initiative from CKP is quite commendable and I hope they keep this up!