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Kolkata’s 170-year-old race course decks up for art festival

Owners of winning horses will receive bronze sculptures made by leading artists such as Ganesh Haloi, Lalu Prasad Shaw and Atin Basak.

kolkata Updated: Dec 08, 2017 17:53 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
RCTC,Royal Calcutta Turf Club,Ganesh Haloi
The first ever art camp held at Royal Calcutta Turf Club in 2014 drew a large crowd. (HT File Photo)

On December 9 artists and art lovers will take over Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) with painters filling their empty canvas under the open sky as horses try to outrun each other. It will be a rare day in the history of the 170-year-old organisation that was once the administrator of all races in the subcontinent. Saturday’s art festival will feature workshops as well as an auction.

Seven races will be held at the end of which some sculptures will be given out as trophies.

The artwork to be auctioned will include paintings and sculptures by Manu Parekh, Jogen Chowdhury, Satish Gujral, Ganesh Haloi, Lalu Prasad Shaw, Ram Kumar and Kartik Chandra Pyne. This will be the second time in the history of RCTC that art will draw crowds. The first art festival was held in 2014.

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“Owners of winning horses will receive bronze sculptures made by leading artists such as Ganesh Haloi, Lalu Prasad Shaw and Atin Basak. The trophies will be presented by leading collectors,” said Vikram Bachhawat of Aakriti art gallery that is co-organising the event along with RCTC. Artwork will replace the trophies normally given out to winners.

The racing events will be followed by an auction in the evening.

“The idea of combining racing with art came from the need to expand the network of art connoisseurs,” said Bachhawat. The aim is to find art lovers among racing patrons.

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The day will start with a workshop to be attended by artists who are gaining prominence. During the workshop, painters will create their work in the open field adjacent to the racing tracks. Simultaneously, there will be an exhibition of artwork by some of the prominent artists of Kolkata.

The estimated price of items on offer will range between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 15 lakh.

Located adjacent to the Victoria Memorial and the Maidans, RCTC comprises four grandstands – all of these are century-old and declared heritage structures.

Among the organisers is Naktala Shilpi Astha, an organisation run by some senior artists who provide free medical support and look after the well-being of artists and people associated with art.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 17:53 IST