Chitra Santhe fair 2024 celebrates 21 years of bridging artists and art lovers - Hindustan Times

Chitra Santhe fair 2024: Art, crowd, and colours paint the bustling canvas of Kumarakrupa road

PTI | | Posted by Akanksha Agnihotri, Bengaluru
Jan 08, 2024 03:03 PM IST

Bengaluru's Chitra Santhe, in its 21st edition, transformed Kumarakrupa Road into a bustling art haven, drawing crowds of over five lakh.

As it has been the case for many years now, the entire stretch of Kumarakrupa Road was shut off for traffic, as Bengalureans thronged the now famous "Chitra Santhe", the city's annual art fair, in droves. Like every year, the 21st edition was held on the first Sunday of January. Between 6 am and 9 pm, Bengaluru Traffic Police restricted vehicular movement on Kumarakrupa Road to facilitate movement of the crowd. On the official website of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, the organiser of the event, it was roughly estimated that the one-day fair usually sees nearly five lakh people.

Exhibitors and visitors at 'Chitra Santhe', an annual art fair by Chitrakala Parishat in Bengaluru on Sunday. Chitra Sante is organized every first Sunday in January. (ANI photo)
Exhibitors and visitors at 'Chitra Santhe', an annual art fair by Chitrakala Parishat in Bengaluru on Sunday. Chitra Sante is organized every first Sunday in January. (ANI photo)

Started in 2002 to propagate the concept of 'art for all,' in no time the fair grew to be the giant it is today, something both the up-and-coming artists as well as art lovers look forward to. Even during the pandemic, the tradition continued with a virtual Santhe. Artist Sanjay Lavakere, who has made Bengaluru his home for 16 years now and is participating in the fair for a second time, said he was lucky to get a slot this time. "I have been trying to get a slot for the last five years, and managed to get one a couple of years ago, but was not lucky the last two years," Lavakere told PTI.

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While on one hand, many artists felt that this was an incredible opportunity, some, including buyers, also felt that the selection of artists could have been a bit more exclusive. The more generic art works and prints of famous artists also took up a lot of space at the fair. Usha Sathish, who had been coming to the fair for almost 18 years now, said her only grouse is that those "typical" Buddhas and Ganeshas are increasing every year.

"I do see a lot of new artists coming. But I think people should try more different things. There are some good artists, but I still feel we can have more creativity here. New artists can try different things because the Bengaluru crowd is ready to experiment with anything, so I think there is scope for innovation, and creativity," said Sathish.

But in general, artists seem to have understood the pulse of the crowd and are quite happy to play to the gallery. For instance, Lavakere said he worked on a series specifically for the Chitra Santhe. Lavakere's bright blue and white themed works that drew inference from Turkish and Greek architecture was quite a hit at the fair and by 4 pm he sold them all. "The crowd here is amazing. I mean, one would think with so much artwork, people would be confused and not know what to buy. But I see them coming in with very distinct requirements, distinct tastes. And there's a market for all kinds of art here," said Lavakere.

The variety is what drew them to the fair, agreed friends Parvathy, Ragini and Krish, who were spotted lugging around their horde of art at the fair. "It’s also interesting to see what people consider art," said Krish. "I heard about the fair about two years ago and since then we have been wanting to come. Right now, we all live in Bengaluru, it seemed like a good time to be here finally,” added Parvathy, who moved to Bengaluru from Kerala.

Although the event drew its fair share of criticism from senior artists from the city for catering more to "lowly variety of art", many artists at the fair were quite content to tweak their work to fit into the utility or pedestrian art. Like Dyaneshwar Randhai from Maharashtra, who printed his artworks into tote bags and sold them for 300 or Alok Chakraborthy from Kolkata whose bookmarks, exquisite pen drawings of trees for 50, found instant buyers.

Though he had on display huge abstract canvases priced 10,000 and above, it was Chakrabothy's small works, in colours more attuned to "interior decoration" and priced in the range of 200 and 1,000, that found buyers. Chakraborthy, who has been a regular to the fair for the last 15 years and has understood the ebb and flow of the demand, said he does not mind. At 500 for entry and with one-night stay for those from other states, the event is a fair deal for artists, said the artist. "Besides, I like watching people enjoy themselves. So, I hope that I will be able to come every year," added Chakraborthy.

Artist Yuvraj Devkar from Pune, who has been participating for four years now, also had a similar view. He said even more than selling, just appreciation for his work from so many people makes him happy. "The event is so big and so many people come. Just for this many artists from Pune apply to be part of this art festival every year," he added.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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