HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: Young artists have to paint a picture of positivity
Survival a challenge
Artists need social support to sustain themselves. This cannot be more evident than in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many artists, both from performing as well as visual arts, are struggling to strike a balance between the idealist call from within to put in efforts to ‘comfort the disturbed’ on the one hand and with the challenge to sustain themselves without exhibitions, performances or shootings. That said, even before the pandemic, no system existed to extend financial support to the artists either in exchange for their services or as a token to encourage them. Even when it comes to selection of art pieces for shows, those who specialise in realism and have an excellent grip over their mediums get rejected as contemporary art is given preference, even though it has a vague and subjective basis.
Don’t be tricity-centric
There are certain points which the akademi needs to focus on:
1.For the whole calendar year whatever the akademi plans is tricity-centric. This should change.
2.Only two events take place for artists – the annual state exhibition and the Sohan Quadri fellowship. More often than not, artists who know the right people in the art circles are selected. There is no well thought out plan to reach out to all artists, especially raw, young talent, and encourage them to participate.
3.The artists’ directory is still pending for the last three years.
4.The akademi has failed to find or support new talent to introduce and elevate them.
5.The art authorities do not send any communication to Punjab artists regarding art activities and workshops. Parveen Kumar
Help those who need it the most
Yes, artists have been struggling during the pandemic, especially the freelancers. Students need to be taught marketing skills. Action needs to be taken and from corporates to known names in the field, everyone should reach out to the struggling artists .
Learnings from couture week
The success of the India Couture Week 2020 proves that the digital medium can be used effectively in communicating with a vast audience, minus hierarchy. Stakeholders in the arts should focus on digital shows. The Government Art College too should introduce various disciplines, including marketing along with communication to help budding artists showcase their work. Nepotism is the bane of the modern world, but nothing can hide true talent.
Why not virual art shows?
Artists have no work during the pandemic and it’s time the government announced measures to help them, including virtual art shows and scholarship programmes. Corporates too should step in and offer support to talented young persons. Many of them are suffering hardships. An artist friend of mine has started doing tattoos. I have been lucky because I have another business, but not being able to paint has been very painful.
Creativity makes the world go round
Many of us tend to think of art as something of a luxury, but it’s more than that. Artists open the doors for us to an imaginary world, something grander to look forward to. But how many of us understand the problems artists have been facing during the pandemic? People feel art is not a basic necessity but in these times it’s important for us to understand that “art is an effort to create, besides a real world, a more humane world.” And only when we understand this we save our artists and enable them to keep creating objects of beauty, even in these trying times. Ashish Bhattacharjee
Fame embraces those who work hard
Where there is a will there is a way. No nepotism exists in the tricity art scene. Any artist can achieve fame by working hard. Being innovative, adopting new techniques and learning from the great masters will always stand them in good stead.Remember,success demands perseverance.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar
Govt support required
There is no dearth of talent but the neglectful attitude of art academies towards budding artists is a problem. The bureaucracy is now handling the affairs of art institutes. Scholarships and other sources of financial help are mostly extended / available only to those who are or know influential people in the art scene. However, in times like this, freelance artists should be supported by the academies and the ministries, and provided financial support by way of workshops and camps.
Creative expression smothered
Nepotism exists in the very fabric of the society and art is no exception. Many talented artists have given up due to this social malaise. Though there is no hard proof of up and coming artists being treated badly, one does hear about the existence of this evil practice smothering creative expression. Those with power and influence everywhere favour friends and family members. To stop this, the intelligentsia and others in society have to come forward and raise a collective voice against any form of nepotism.
Anil Kumar Yadav, Chandigarh
No promoting family or friends
The Chandigarh administration should come out with a policy disallowing any person in authority in the field of art from promoting a family member or close friend.
Hard work pays
People do not decide whether they deserve a chance, but God always opens doors to those who can prove themselves. Only a few from the art field have achieved fame. Artists need to understand that this is a field where only talent and hard work survives. No one can stop them from chasing their dreams if they work hard consistently. Ishita Nara
Don’t depend on vagaries of the market
‘Omnis ars naturae imitatio est’(all art is imitation of nature) and ‘ars est celare artem’(art lies in concealing art). The superb pieces of art -- human beings-- are created in the womb, hidden away from the world.When art is commercialised, it is dependent on the vagaries of the market, where fair means or foul and merit or nepotism are unavoidable if one has to stay ahead of the game. However, sooner than later, excellence does speak for itself and for it to thrive, tricity artists must be motivated and encouraged to exhibit their talent through various fora. Budding artists need motivation with incentives.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Explore options for international tie-ups
Budding artists need to be guided by their colleges about the opportunities they can avail of in future. The government should provide them a platform by holding exhibitions at regular intervals not only to showcase their talent but to help them earn a better living too and achieve success in their field. Options for international tie-ups and collaborations should also be explored.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Cannot promote a family member
I think there can be “favouritism” in theatre and art but certainly not “nepotism”. There’s a difference between the two. We do show preferential treatment to a person or a group of persons in both these cases. In “favouritism” we support someone who may or may not be related to us whereas in “nepotism” we support someone who is either a friend or related to us - using power or money unfairly. Art has no place for nepotism.
Gurpreet S Malhotra, Kansal
Philanthropists must step up
Unlike in Delhi or Mumbai, which are cities with an abundance of private art galleries, public exhibition centres and art lovers, the tricity is totally dependent on the patronage of a few ‘experts.’ Moreover, the gestation period for an artist to establish himself or herself is very long. Hence, there is a need for city philanthropists, including businessmen and industrialists to support budding talent. We need to open up places like the Sector 17 Central Vista and Kalagram for new artists to display their works. This does not mean that artists will not have to struggle, but new avenues will definitely open up for them. The Government College of Art should also simultaneously, open a permanent display hall for struggling artists. The College can charge a percentage fee on all sales, like Sotheby’s for this.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Well connected galleries that choose to go by their family names exhibit the power to make or break young artistes’ independent careers and have become enthusiastic promoters of a selected few while others are found jockeying for attention on social media to build their brands as artists. The need of the hour is to provide equal opportunity based on merit or calibre and demystify the creative tension between emerging and established artists. Art fair committees need to be ethically structured and accountability by these diverse stakeholders should be deemed necessary.
Komal Singh, Chandigarh