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Open space

An interactive online space for artists and art lovers, The Fuschia Tree aims to create a pool of works from young and established artists the world over. Girija Duggal tells more...

art and culture Updated: Sep 19, 2008 14:19 IST
Girija Duggal

The Fuschia Tree is the brainchild of 34-year-old Delhi-born Chanda Chaudhary Barrai, an ex-advertising professional whose unfruitful search for affordable but quality artworks for her mother’s home gave birth to this unique and, what some may call ambitious, venture.

An interactive online space for artists and art lovers, The Fuschia Tree aims to create a pool of works from young and established artists the world over. Already, since the launch of www.thefuschiatree.com on July 30, it has received over 2,000 works by 200 artists from countries like Argentina, Canada, Russia, Vietnam and Pakistan.

Barrai doesn’t have an art background, but she has compensated for this lack by focussing instead on developing a well-researched and well-packaged product line. “The Fuschia Tree is not trying to be an art expert. What’s special about us is that we try to anticipate a lot of the needs of everyone, and we have tried to create a space they can call home. It has really been created with an understanding of the consumer,” says Barrai. She has kept in mind the interests of a wide range of people — from artists and buyers to galleries and design professionals.

There are other add-on features that make this venture stand out in the crowd — among them, a no-questions-asked exchange offer, assured resale, archival quality giclee prints, and funky art merchandise.

Perhaps its most defining feature is the emphasis on fair business. Right from the curatorial policy to the exchange offer, transparency and trust permeate every aspect of The Fuschia Tree’s dealings.

The curatorial panel, for example, comprises five senior artists, with plans of increasing the numbers over time. This is because, Barrai says, “I didn’t want The Fuschia Tree to be any one person’s imagination of what good art should be. Every work is rated by at least two people on the panel and judged only on merit.”

As for the art exchange offer, she says, “We’ll never say ‘I bet my last dollar on an art work’… never. What we will say is, if you are not satisfied, you can come back and exchange it for at least the price you bought it at.”

And she is not afraid of being the underdog in a highly competitive art market. “We’re not in this to become millionaires,” says Barrai. “I’ve always believed that when you do something with hard work, passion, honesty, some skill and intelligence, there are always those who have been looking for [something just like] it.”

So even if her venture is “a small giant”, something that if even a hundred people liked and used regularly, she would count it as a job well done.

Mint Green, The Fuschia Tree’s first exhibition, will be on view from September 24 to October 8 at The Attic, 36, Regal Building, Connaught Place