Since 1991, art connoisseur and chairman of RPG Enterprises, Harsh Goenka, along with Vickram Sethi, chairman of Arts Trust, have been pooling in their resources to put together an art jamboree of sorts. Says Sethi, “Like families catch up at weddings, the RPG art camp is an annual meet that allows artists from across generations to come together, share ideas, learn and create.”
Starting off as an art sanctuary for as few as eight artists, the event has now grown into a calendar-marked affair that features more than 20 international and local artists. This year, however, amongst the 23 talents lined up, the international names seem to have gone missing. “Things didn’t work out at the last minute. We have Kim Seola, who is a Korean artist, though she has been residing in India for two years,” explains Sethi.
The six-day long camp, which will conclude on January 21, will see works created by 23 artists, expressing their signature styles on canvas at an idyllic bungalow outside city limits. Is the cliché of an isolated artist necessary? “It’s not so much of a cliché. With the exception of MF Husain, most artists are introverts by nature. There are many who even find art camps quite intrusive,” feels Goenka, whose beach house in Marve will transform into an artist residency this week.
Among those participating this year are veterans like Anjolie Ela Menon and Paresh Maity and young talents like Viraj Naik. “Anjolie is the grandma of the camp. She has been a great guiding force for us since the beginning. The art camp is a great place that allows creative energies to flow, but artists are touchy people with big egos, and Anjolie has the tact to take care of any tiffs that may arise during the creative residency,” adds Sethi.
Besides creating new artworks during their stay, the artists also discuss and interact with art lovers at the end of the camp. “Money is not our driving force. It’s the experience. There are times when we haven’t sold a single piece, but the experience has been enriching,” adds Sethi. Ask them about one artiste they would like to get to the camp and Goenka is quick to say, “Akbar Padamsee. He’s one of my favourite artistes and it would be great to watch him at work.”