What's in a name? United Art Fair sparks debate

United Art Fair 2012

The popular quote by William Shakespeare will scream at you if you plan to visit United Art Fair this week. UAF, the first of its kind, challenges to bring artists from different genres under one roof, without introducing them by their names.

The art fair which is currently running at Pragati Maidan is an effort to bring art into the open and make it accessible for all. And one could admire and cherish the aesthetics of the art work by simply looking at the talent and not going by the name.

As I entered the prodigious setting, one thing which sparked a debate amongst the artists was the 'no name' ideology. While few of them were aware, others were totally appalled when they figured out their names would not be mentioned against their work.

Artist Sidharth M. Pansari's art work
It is believed that this is a conscious decision by JohnyML, curator, so that the audience don't judge paintings by the name of the artist.

On being asked about the same, Johny said, "Yes, it is a conscious decision as there was a lot of demand to do this fair in a different way and as you know it is artist driven fair, the people should be looking for the work and not the names".

"We wanted to generate curiosity among the audience. We even mentioned all the artists' biography in the catalogues so that people should read about their work. Had we put up the names, people would have got attracted to the big names", added Johny.

Artist Sidharth M. Pansari, who is displaying his work for the first time at such a big event feels, "You see… there is a big difference between contemporary art and modern art and I think that is the name. Making one's name in the art world is a big thing. But I think artist's name should be mentioned."

Another artist Vijendra Sharma strongly opposes the idea of not mentioning the name at all. "The artist's name is very significant to the work. I think even the title of the painting should be there. I believe that the work gets lost somewhere without the name".

While some painters took offense, others chose to go with the flow.

Revant Bogra, a 15-year-old artist is undoubtedly the youngest at the fair and says, "I thought they were supposed to write our (artists) names but you know I think it is really nice because then people will appreciate the work and not go by the big names. Even if it is a stroke or something, audience tend to fall for the biggies."

Young artist Revant Bogra's art

The question is whether this trend will make a big difference to the art world and will it give an edge to the budding artists.

"The idea of no names display is good. The fact that my work is here and is being appreciated means a lot. Honestly, my name not being here doesn't bother me", says Sanjay Sundram, one of the artists at the fair.

Though Sundram shares that there must be an intelligent marketing idea behind this trend. "I am sure there must be some logic to it. But whatever all I can say is it's for the good."

Artist Sanjay Sundram's work

The Fair is aimed at promoting young and upcoming talent from all over the country, and is the first artists' driven art fair in India.

The first edition of the Fair is featuring around six hundred artists including upcoming and established artists and renowned masters.

Event: United Art Fair, bringing 600 artists together
Date: 27 to 30 September
Venue: Pragati Maidan, Hall 12A
Highlights: Special section on "Raja Deen Dayal"
'Mind the Gap Now' will feature upcoming artists
"Masters Corner" showcasing the work of artists who have been sources of inspiration to many, and will include artists like Akbar Padamsee, MF Husain, Anjolie Ela Menon, Krishan Khanna, J Swaminathan and Ram Kumar among others.


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