Artistry Unleashed: Exploring The Minds Of Painters, Collectors, And Curators Redefining The Creative Landscape

Artistry Unleashed: Exploring The Minds Of Painters, Collectors, And Curators Redefining The Creative Landscape

The visual arts realm encompasses those with talent and a keen sense of aesthetic appreciation but without a formal education in an art school

Dinesh RahejaUpdated: Sunday, May 12, 2024, 11:29 AM IST
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Bharati Prakash, Painter

Art is not a sequestered speciality accessible only to a few. The visual arts realm encompasses those with talent and a keen sense of aesthetic appreciation but without a formal education in an art school. Like former advertising executive Bharati Prakash who readily reveals that she holds no degree from an art institution but is overjoyed at having found an expression for her creativity. “I am in a trance when I start painting,” she shares. “I slip into a different world and experience a lot of inner peace.”

This is the appeal of art which motivates Bharati to prolifically create paintings. “I am into abstract portraits, Madhubani, and all kinds of art,” she reveals.

Bharati's early paintings may draw inspiration from the masters but she is also honing a style of her own. “I create art for my own enjoyment, and when others admire it, the celebration doubles.”

It was the social isolation during the Covid pandemic that sparked Bharati’s love story with painting. She says, “I asked my artist friend Swapna Walawalkar if she would teach me, and she agreed. She was a very strict teacher and made me work only on lines and strokes for the first four months.”

Bharat cites Jagannath Paul and Subhendu Ghosh as her favourite artists and emphasises the need to inculcate art into everyday life. “Even children should take up at least one art in any form – painting, pottery etc. My 9-year-old grandson has started painting after watching me. He tells me ‘One day, I will be a great painter like you’ as though I am B. Prabha or M.F. Hussain,” Bharati laughs.

Radhi Parekh, Curator

After illustrating children’s books in London, doing digital design in Silicon Valley, and making and selling handmade jewellery as a street artist in San Francisco, Radhi Parekh returned to India in 2011 and founded Artisans, which she calls “India’s first gallery at the intersection of art, craft and design.” She elaborates, “My vision is to give many designers, artisans, social entrepreneurs, and indigenous artists a home to showcase their work for the first time. We are passionate about reviving, supporting and nurturing the unique skills of India’s extraordinary artisans.”

Parekh’s gallery at Kala Ghoda, considered Mumbai’s art district, exhibits a wide range of artisans – from artists to those who upcycle sarees and make unique curios. She says, “In 2017, we launched ‘Reincarnations’ at Lakme Fashion Week. The curation included upcycled textile waste, plastic and metal scrap. In addition, indigenous art has always been important to our programme, as we believe it to be the contemporary art of  the peoples of India; from the first-ever exhibition of Mata-ni-Pachedi, Gujarat, to the recent exhibition of a feminist voice from Mithila, Bihar.”

For Parekh the criterion which helps decide whether she wants to curate an artist’s work is when “I am moved by an artist’s work. I am fascinated by objects that represent our contemporary culture, and the context within which they have meaning and thrive. Perhaps this is why our curation is both wide and deep.”

A curator plays an important role in preserving and promoting art; and Parekh has been an earnest champion of local artisans. She reveals, “For 10 years, I looked for the best of our most local indigenous art, until I found the artists we showcase, who are leading a contemporary expression of their Warli art, with a message for the larger world. Artisans’ has launched path-breaking talent, changing the lives of individuals and communities, to create lasting value.”

Dan Dhanoa, Collector

Art collector Dan Dhanoa was initiated into the world of art at the young age of 10, and he remains fascinated by it even half a century later. He recalls, “When I joined The Doon School, we kids were exposed to many extracurricular activities. I loved spending time at the art school doing pottery, batik, drawing, painting and making sculptures. Our art teacher Rathin Mitra, a Shantiniketan alumni, taught us how to let our imaginations fly, tap our creativity and give it form. Our minds were attuned to appreciating creativity.”

Over the years, Dhanoa has honed his keen appreciation of art even during the time he was an actor (he played the villain in the Amitabh Bachchan hit, Mard), and later a captain in the merchant navy. He says, “I have an eye for beauty and over the years I have amassed art, artefacts and antiques from all over the world. My first buy was a ‘lot’ of Bengal School of Art paintings by masters such as Rabindranath Tagore, his two nephews Abanindranath Tagore and Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Ramkinkar Baij.”

Since then, Dhanoa has amassed a reasonably large collection of Indian traditional folk and tribal art, Indian modern & contemporary art  and art from South-East Asian countries. He says, “I have become a collector; and a hoarder ... I buy, but I can’t part with my treasures.”

Now that he’s hung up his sea-boots, Dhanoa plans to create art himself. “I’ve been more of a collector,” he says. “but I will now paint, sculpt and revive an art gallery in Chandigarh.”

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