Painter Satyendra Rane Speaks About Curating The Sahayog Contemporary Art Exhibition

Painter Satyendra Rane Speaks About Curating The Sahayog Contemporary Art Exhibition

It is his brain child and very close to his heart as it allows him to make a difference to his world in a way

Shruti PanditUpdated: Sunday, February 18, 2024, 11:26 AM IST
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Satyendra Rane |

Sahayog Contemporary Art exhibition is the brain child of artist Satyendra Rane and very close to his heart as it allows him to make a difference to his world in a way. “Just a little, but, yes, and that’s my contribution towards making a better society... my attempt to make it a better place,” Satyendra Rane shares.

As a child, Satyendra Rane was forced by his mother and sisters to go to the drawing teacher to keep him out of trouble. He spent time with SB Polaji learning the art of sketching, drawing, painting etc. Somewhere down the line, the compulsion became passion and Rane was drawn to the art. He studied at the Raheja School of Art and graduated as a BFA.

However, this was just the beginning of his struggles. “It is easier to graduate, but to get a space to display my work was quite difficult initially,” reveals Rane. Many group shows and a few solo shows later Rane realised that he is not the only one who faces this. “There is no dearth of talent in our country. So many talented artists from all over India come to Mumbai with a hope that they can display their art in this city of dreams. They aspire to achieve what their predecessors did… get appreciated and acclaimed for their work,” Rane elucidates. “But most often they find it difficult to book an art gallery – either it is unaffordable, or they just don’t get the slot unless they know someone.”

Rane once witnessed a talented young girl who had come from interiors of Maharashtra being rejected as she was not polished enough to present her work in the desired manner at a gallery. “Her work was brilliant. She was just unaware of the city’s ways... and couldn’t market herself.”

These instances compelled Rane to think. The outcome was Sahayog Contemporary Art Exhibition. An exhibition where talent has no age was conceived. “The idea was to give a platform to artists who were trying to make their mark, searching for a place to display their work,” tells Rane. Rane’s peers and friends opposed the idea. Rane not only wanted to give unknown artists a platform, but he also planned to give away majority of the earnings through the exhibition to a NGO that worked towards educating children in rural areas.

Artwork by Sajiya R Ansari

Artwork by Sajiya R Ansari |

“They thought it was madness to have a such a big exhibition and give away the proceedings for a social cause.”

But that did not deter Rane. He followed his heart and went ahead with the idea. Currently, the eighth edition of Sahayog Art Exhibition is in progress at the Nehru Centre’s Art Gallery. This edition is displaying works of artists of aged 16 to 80. Some seniors are also exhibiting their work along with freshers. Artist Namya Gupta has helped him curate this exhibition where artists from all over India and Nepal are participating.

Gearing up for such a huge event and collecting funds must be difficult. Why did he ever not approach any institutions or sponsors? “That would have taken away my freedom to select the works,” says Rane. “I was not willing to make that compromise.”

Last year Rane mentored a 16 year-old artist and her family to curate an event for the transgender community. He helped her and 50 other transgender painters to paint umbrellas and sell them to raise funds for the betterment of the community.

“I believe that I owe it to the society...” says Rane, who has always followed his heart and worked towards giving a chance to everyone who deserves it. “Everyone is born talented and has a right to show their work. I am just a medium… who is helping them do it,” he signs off quite humbly.

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