When French-Indian siblings Leila and Kevin Tayebaly, along with Leila’s husband Gregoire Berri, began The Art Loft in Bandra three months ago, it was to give workaholic Mumbai some artistic space to explore its creative side.
With The Art Conspiracy, their latest initiative, they are taking that idea one step forward.
“It is a conspiracy to bring artists and citizens together at unexpected, underground places to pursue unexplored art forms,” said 34-year old Leila, an art therapist.
The Art Conspiracy is offering a platform to artists — professional or amateur — who send in their work, be it photographs, paintings, installations, drawings, graphic art or sculptures, before September 25.
A jury will pick the best entries and which will be displayed during a two-day Art Conspiracy festival on October 23 and 24 at Pali Village Café, Out of the Blue, Bonobo, Yellow Tree Café, Azaad Bazaar and Loose Ends, all in Bandra.
The festival will also feature live art performances, film screenings and night markets.
Promoted via their Facebook page (The Art Conspiracy) and Twitter handle TheArtLofters, the response has been good so far. “We have received about 100 entries and queries in a week,” said Leila.
“People sent in paintings and digital art initially, but now we are also receiving films and installations.”
For the artists, it is a chance to showcase work that might not have made it to a conventional gallery — and be part of a local art movement.
“Art Conspiracy, for me, meant conspiring against the norms. I sent in a painting that deviates from the norm,” said graphic artist Lili Memon (49), who also sent in pictures taken by her 21-year-old son.
“Such events liven up the stagnant art scene for the public.” The seven-member jury features filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival curator Brinda Miller and artist Nikhil Chopra.
“These people are known for promoting young talent. Kashyap also makes films that are offbeat, all of which is exactly what we stand for,” said Kevin, a media strategy consultant.
Describing The Art Conspiracy as a chance for Mumbaiites to become part of the art world, renowned city artist Shilpa Gupta added: “The spirit of the people and the intentions of the organisers is admirable. Every such initiative counts.”