Through Madras Art Guild, VR Chennai provides an accessible platform to artists and art students of the city
A contemporary interpretation of a temple chariot, a painted car, drenched in motifs that speak of the city’s celebrated history and culture — as much as they speak of the ‘rush’ engulfing people and society today — sits parked in a shopping centre that throngs of people visit everyday. Madras Art Guild, a public art festival in VR Chennai, aims to make art more accessible by displaying them in public spaces. The month-long initiative follows Virtuous Retail’s (VR) art initiatives in other locations.
“Why should art be restricted to galleries?” asks Sumi Gupta, curator of the show. By displaying it in lifestyle centres instead, Sumi believes that everyone who passes by, will have a reaction to it — be it good or bad.
The idea of an art show centred around shopping centres was first conceived in 2013 in VR Surat, which has completed five editions of the same. Bengaluru, on the other hand, has seen three successful editions. “A shopping centre is a focal point of the people surrounding it: in that sense, these are community centres. Art has always been regarded as an essential medium in connecting communities,” Pankaj Renjhen, COO of Virtuous Retail, chimes in.
Most of the artists involved in the Chennai initiative are students from art institutions across Tamil Nadu. “We have collaborated with centres like the Cholamandal Artists’ Village, and Government College of Fine Arts in Chennai and Kumbakonam, to identify students who usually do not get this kind of an exposure as budding artists,” continues Sumi. The students are put alongside experienced artists to learn from, and also draw from the benefits of being placed in a location where everyone sees their work.....Read more
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