Sunday, September 16, 2012

Summing up Indian art scene

Today internationally renowned artists from India like Bose Krishnamachari, Riyas Komu, T.V. Santhosh and Iranna G.R. depict are rooted to their own culture, yet their work is of universal nature. They strive to act as a link between what constitutes Indian-ness in the context of contemporary art and today's 'global' community.

In the backdrop of India’s rich and ancient cultural history, there is also now a growing and deep appreciation of a new era in Indian art. Young talents such as Vivek Vilasini and Vibha Galhotra deftly allow dismaying elements to seamlessly act. Those like Akhilesh and Manish Pushkale explore latent emotions by way of linear contours whereas George Martin P.J. and Chandra Bhattacharjee let elements of Pop art skillfully intermingle with super-realism and expressionistic abstraction.

Even as we provide attention to each individual artist and his or her growth trajectory, we must also pay attention to the overall scenario and how it’s shaping up. In spite of a promising future, for now the rather narrow and constrained collector base remains a cause of concern for Indian art market, which still has some way to go compared to other emerging markets. Sale totals of Russia and China are almost 4-5 times more than what art sales here are generating. The two have had a massive state investment in building cultural infrastructure like something India lacks.

Though our art scene has vast potential and scope, what it requires is both private and government support. Also, people need to be made more knowledgeable and better informed about art processes, and philosophy, themes and mediums. This cannot happen overnight; it will take time.

Highlighting this aspect, senior artist Atul Dodiya feels lack of serious discourse is sad, though he is heartened by the fact that the increasing curiosity about art is encouraging, which can be met with programs that will involve the masses for education, awareness and appreciation. Thankfully, a more mature and aware collector base is coming to the fore, slowly but surely.

To conclude, Indian market is in a nascent stage compared to other developed art markets. However, it’s only a matter of time before it grows and attains its own unique identity.

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