- Students’ Column
- War and Military
For over two decades now, art market has been expanding in India at much faster rate than Western countries. This increase in art market has paralleled trends in China and other growing economies. This growth of art market is correlated especially with the increasing wealth of the neo-rich. One must ask, has an increase in wealth brought along with it an increase in cultural awareness and a deep taste in art or is art a mere proxy for appearance of being suave and refined? To me, an exchange of one’s traditional appearances and outward mores with Western appearances and habits is the only transition that is obvious in overwhelming section this neo rich strata. I do not see a greater appreciation of art. I just see more art accumulation or should I say signature accumulation. Any mediocre work of art made by a known artist would do for this segment. Nonetheless, given more art is being purchased, one might wonder if some appreciation of art has increased or so to say “trickled down”. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Most cotemporary art sits in corporate offices, drawing rooms of rich and behind the wall of mighty art galleries. In an effort to take art to the people and break down this wall of art galleries, a group of 22 artists decided to take works of their art to the people. This effort was coordinated and promoted by a Nandana Acharjee, a rising artist, art promoter who happens to be a physician in daytime. These artists held works of their art on 6th July, 4p.m. onwards in their hands at three venues in the inner circle of Connaught Place, A, B and F block. This effort succeeded in gathering attention of people who were at Connaught Place on Sunday and likely kindled lasting interest in art in few curious souls. The effort if sustained and replicated in not just at posh venues such as Connaught Place, which again is the Mecca of the neo-rich, but in all cities, towns and villages of India, especially in the slums, that would really take art to the people.
Beyond exposure to art, what we direly lack is art as an essential part of education. The only nominal experiments that have been there to merge art with education are primarily around ideas of Tagore, and that too, like everything else in India, without understanding the motivations but by blindly following some convenient and ostentatious practices. July 6th effort by 22 Delhi based artists, called “Cause Art”, was a small step in the right direction of making art a part of people’s lives.
Cause Art detached itself from social commentary that art can be an excellent vehicle for and focused solely on exposure to art. One can, and I certainly do, ask about strength (or more appropriately the lack of strength) of art, when detached from its social context but well in a cultural climate where art sits behind the walls of gallery this was one small step in right direction. Hopefully many more steps by many more individuals would follow soon.
The artists involved in this effort were: