Artists in these times need as much support as they can get.(HT Photo/For representation only)
Artists in these times need as much support as they can get.(HT Photo/For representation only)

HT Chandigarh Our Take: Tricity artists need support

Tricity artists say that programmes in some art institutes have to be updated to keep up with the modern times to prepare students for the competitive art market
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON SEP 26, 2020 11:04 PM IST

While the cry against nepotism in Bollywood has been loud and clear in the past few months, this week a group of artists came together to allege that parallels could be drawn in the tricity art scene too.

The provocation is rooted in the dire straits that freelance artists, many of them with masters in fine arts degrees, find themselves in during the seven months of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Most of them have been without work and are finding it difficult to support themselves and their families.

What’s ironic is that some of them have gained recognition for their work and have even won awards. However, their careers as artists have not moved further because of alleged nepotism. Some preferred names, they say, continue to come up in workshops, camps or exhibitions.

As an immediate measure, an appeal was issued on social media urging artists with government or private jobs to come to the aid of others of their ilk who were suffering. The response from a section of artists has been encouraging.

While the cry against nepotism in Bollywood has been loud and clear in the past few months, this week a group of artists came together to allege that parallels could be drawn in the tricity art scene too.

The provocation is rooted in the dire straits that freelance artists, many of them with masters in fine arts degrees, find themselves in during the seven months of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Most of them have been without work and find it difficult to support themselves and their families. Their careers, some allege, are at a standstill because of nepotism. Some preferred names, they say, continue to come up in workshops, camps or exhibitions.

The roots of the malaise go much deeper. Chandigarh has several art institutions and the Government College of Art has tutored some very talented artists, many earning fame at the national level.

Today, it’s felt that art courses have to be updated to keep up with the modern times to prepare students for the competitive art market. They have to be promoted by their institutes, but often are not.

Then, strong leaders can make a difference, but the Government College of Art has been without a principal. A bureaucrat is in charge and the UT home secretary does not require an arts degree.

The Punjab and Haryana high court had stipulated that the principal should have teaching and administration skills.

To change things, senior artists suggest that besides skilling youngsters in the arts, they should also be taught communication skills and marketing.

Budding artists too must realise that this is a competitive field where talent wins. Only a handful make it to the top after a concerted struggle. Engaging in a job or business while pursuing their passion for art becomes necessary for survival.

PAINT TAINT

Does nepotism exist in the tricity art scene?

Do only a few artists in the tricity get promoted or is a fair chance given to everyone? Send your responses by October 2, with your photograph, to Chandigarh@hindustantimes.com.

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