Friday, December 4, 2009

Giving an outlet to innate creative processes

An article in Mumbai edition of The DNA India by writer Riddhi Doshi put the spotlight on Harsh Goenka on eve of the annual RPG art camp organized since 1991.

Elaborating on the event, Harsh Goenka was quoted as saying, "We have many senior artists this time like Anjolie Ela Menon, Paresh Maity, Krishen Khanna. We have a good blend of the old-world and new-age artists this time. Also we found that most of the people we invited were very happy to come. And I really don't think that the enthusiasm is dying."

He came down strongly on the trend of organizing art camps in exotic locations like Istanbul, Rome, etc. The article mentioned him saying, "There is not much serious art discussion and learning. Learning happens only when artists see each other paint. These camps are like holiday tours are also very commercial. This is how they calculate cost - if it's a group of 15 people, you pay for stay and travel which comes to Rs1 lakh per person, the total being Rs15 lakh. Then you demand two works from each artist the value of which goes up to Rs40 lakh. In the end, you have made a profit of Rs25 lakh."

To ensure that his camps are different, to begin with, he does not keep anything that the artists have created. They either sell their works during the closing or take them back with them. They leave for me a small self-portrait as a gesture.

He recounted: "Through the art camps, I have learnt to appreciate the psyche of the artist. I vividly remember artist Yusuf Arakkal who once lazed in the sun and in the swimming pool for five days. And I thought, 'what is he doing?' Sunday was the the showing of the works and Friday night he had not started working on anything. Saturday morning, I was just walking around and saw that he had finished a huge canvas. I asked him, what happened? He told me that art is not about skill alone, but about thought also…" The experience made him appreciate innate creative processes of various artists.

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