DRAWING COMPETITIONS have always been a part of either Children’s Day celebrations or campaigns aimed at creating awareness about world peace or tree plantation. They have been so popular that the idea of holding contests has really caught on. It is not actually so much the concern for world peace or ecology or plight of children, as the competitions themselves, which have always caught people’s attention.
The year witnessed dozens of such competitions held almost every Sunday during the year. There has been such an increase in the number of on the spot watercolour and crayon competitions that they have enjoyed almost the same popularity as art exhibitions held in metros.
New talent and budding student artists taking fancy to rural life, folk culture and comic characters have flooded art galleries with their works.
Besides, workshops encouraging forays in fusion painting have been extremely popular and fashionable. Khadi has found yet another use as artists have begun using it as canvas. If rangoli and dabbing waste utility items with paint can be categorized as painting, the trend has has been on the rise with artists executing a work of art in less than 24 hours measuring 7 x 7 feet or 50 feet in length.
Artists from Delhi—Vijendra Sharma, Seeraj Saxena or Sharad Sowani— who visited Indore chose not to exhibit their works, but expressed concern on the influence of the West and decline in art with the influx of money.
Of the two artists who made it to the front page, one was a cricketer’s mother who depicted a rare victorious moment and the other one was in the headlines for the theft of one of his innumerable horses from the shop of an art material supplier. M F Hussain was summoned to Indore because of his objectionable portrayal of a Hindu deity. However, he shied away, as there was a bounty of Rs 11 lakh on his head.
Surprisingly, Picasso’s 125th birth anniversary was celebrated in a big way by the City painters. The old master, among other things, was remembered for his readiness to paint with his tongue, if deprived of all the tools.
Futhermore, artists from Indore mounted exhibitions and participated in group shows in metros. Most noteworthy was an exhibition of D J Joshi’s paintings at Jehangeer Art Gallery in Mumbai. After splitting his works in two or three lots it was heartening to note that 85 canvasses were collected under one roof. It is a matter of pride for the City residents that lensman Hemshankar Pathak, Rajendra Rathore and Shobha Vaidya won honours for their works. It seems art has descended several steps down to embrace popular taste.