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House rules for artists in residence

Riddhi Doshi takes a look at how art and artists are nurtured at three of the best known studios in Gujarat.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2011 23:24 IST
Riddhi Doshi
Riddhi Doshi
Hindustan Times

In many ways, a young artist is like the proverbial needle in the haystack; there are people looking for him, but he's generally invisible. He could spend years waiting for that lucky break.

Meanwhile, he would continue to pursue his art in corner rooms and leaky tenements, doing the rounds of galleries and peddling his works at shows and festivals.

The only true haven at this stage is the community art studio. These are non-residential facilities, but they offer the artist free working space and basic material for up to three years and the opportunity to work with and learn from other artists.

In India, most of these studios are concentrated in Gujarat, Goa, Varanasi, Delhi and Kochi. A look at how art and artists are nurtured at three of the most well known studios in Gujarat…

Size: 50,000 sq ft
On offer: 11 studios, each equipped with basic tools such as chisels and drills; a common printmaking machine; exhibition space; library; TV room
Timings: 11 am to midnight

This community art studio was set up by art connoisseur and industrialist Krupa Amin, 30, in 2005. Each 200-sq-ft studio is enclosed in unpainted brick walls and wooden partitions, with a wooden chair, table and easel being the only furniture.

Through the year, collectors and gallerists from across the country visit to scout for fresh talent.

Amin also organises regular talks and workshops and events for the artists.

"The studio gets about 50 applications every year," says Amin.

"Once an artist gets a slot, their work is reviewed every six months and a decision taken on whether they can get an extension."

An artist can stay at Space for up to three years.

Mariplly Praveen, 25, from Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, for instance, has been here for two years, working on his serigraphy art.

"Two of the prints I created here are now on display at an ongoing show in New York," says the graduate of the Vadodara school of art.

Size: 10,000 sq ft
On offer: 20 studios, each equipped with a common printmaking machine; exhibition space; library; TV room
Timings: Open 24x7

In 2004, the Patodias, a family of art connoisseurs, converted a 10,000-sq-ft office space in a commercial building in the heart of Vadodara into a community studio.

"Many of the art students I regularly interacted with did not have money for raw material, let alone studio space," says Madhuben Patodia, who spearheaded the initiative.

She set up AQ@PRIYASARI - the AQ stands for 'aesthetic quotient'; Priyasari is the name of her daughter. The community studio can accommodate 20 artists, who can stay for six months to three years.

"It is a pleasure to be able to work in the art hub of Vadodara," says printmaking artist Naini Arora, 24, a Goan who studied at the Vadodara school of art and now has a slot at the studio.

"The exhibition is open to other Vadodara artists as well," says Priyasari, an art lover herself and owner of the Priyasari gallery in Worli, Mumbai.

4.5 lakh sq ft
On offer: 12 studios, with a common printmaking machine; exhibition space; library; TV and wi-fi room
Timings: 9 am to 9 pm

One of India's oldest community art studios, the Kanoria Centre for Arts, set up in 1985, is also one of the biggest. It was inspired by the resident art school founded in Santiniketan, West Bengal, by Rabindranath Tagore.

Artists can stay for six months to three years. In return, they must each donate one art work to the studio every six months. Artists who've worked here include MF Husain, TV Santosh and Manjit Bawa.

First Published: Aug 13, 2011 23:18 IST