The recent exhibition, at Lalit Kala Academy in New Delhi, to raise funds for Uttarakhand flood victims, didn't find enough buyers. Was it the exorbitant price or sheer negligence?
As many as 150 artists contributed their work for this single cause without keeping any share of the income and out of that they could only collect Rs. 15 lakhs (approximately).
Jatin Das, Padma Bhushan awardee, said: “I was always concerned about this cause and looking at the show from that angle there’s gratification but I am a little unhappy because we’ve not sold everything and people of Delhi could have bought."
He added, “The artist community in India and particularly Delhi has always come forth in last 60 years giving a hand to the troubled hands, whether it’s floods, earthquakes or whatever. And on the other hand, there are bureaucrats, doctors, engineers, politicians – why don’t they come out and do something?”
“Artists are not rich like bureaucrats and others. When I asked, all of them (artists) gave their works and within two days! Some of them even made drawings the previous night, got it framed and gave it to us which is very touching. But do you think public at large is concerned?” he asked.
Sanjay Bhattacharya blames Indian market and the decline of rupee. Even though his work was the most expensive at the exhibition, he feels that’s hardly a reason for his artwork to not stay unsold. “First of all our market is low at the moment. Where are the buyers? Craze for paintings is also going down. I don’t think we should expect more than this. We are doing our best and can only do so much”, he said.
Depending on the amount of work and the experience of the artist the paintings were priced from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 8,00,000. The prices were modified keeping the cause in mind and also to attract more buyers. Despite being reasonably priced the exhibition saw very few and most buyers who came were collectors.
“Mostly collectors bought the works and the participant artists also came forward and bought each other’s paintings just to donate as much as we could,” said B. Jaya Lakshmi, an artist and volunteer.
The artists still seemed somewhere satisfied at being a part of the cause. The display only lasted for three days (July 14-July 16). The money will be sent in the form of cheques in favour of Chief Minister Relief Fund, Uttarakhand.
Apart from Jatin Das, this was initiated by A Ramachandran, Arjuna, Alka Raghuvanshi, Anjolie Ela Menon, Anupam Sood, Atul Sinha, Chameli Ramachandran, Harshawardhan, Gopi Gajwani, Jatin Das, Jayashri Burman, Krishen Khanna, Kishore Shinde, Manish Pushkale, Manu Parekh, Madhavi Parekh, Paresh Maity, Parthiv Shah, Raghu Rai, Rajeev Lochan, Ram Rahman, Santosh Verma, Shamshad Hussain, Shakti Maira, Shobha Broota, Vivan Sundaram, Veer Munshi, Vasundhara Tiwari and others.