Published: 10th September 2018
Bengaluru's Chitrakala Parishath launches platform to encourage artists from rural towns
This young artist started a forum to bring many Fine Arts and Visual Arts students under one roof. Shivaprasad, founder of Art Matters, talks about their plans and how they have grown across the state
"I dream my painting and then I paint my dream", said Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh once. Painting is a form of art through which one can express their emotions for nature, culture, heritage and of late, social issues. Just a few colours splotched on a stretched canvas makes a difference to the one who views it. But unlike other professions, artists are not given much importance, be it in India or abroad. Yet there are still young people who take it up.
Nowadays, in metro cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Pune and Mysuru, artists find good jobs and they make good money too. However, artists in smaller towns and rural areas do not get much attention and a proper platform to exhibit their work. Realising that such talents should be given a chance to move their brush on a canvas, a few Fine Arts student from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath started an art forum called Art Matters.
Art Conference: Students watch a live pencil sketch by an artist at one of the conferences held in Bengaluru
Believing in his initiative, Shivaprasad Achar, who is the founder of Art Matters, says that forming a forum for artists across the state has helped many talents find a platform to exhibit their work. "The team that I started with just six volunteers has now grown to 30 volunteers from different districts. We started Art Matters in 2015. Our forum conducts various exhibitions in different parts of the state, so that many artistic ideas and thoughts are exchanged and get recognition," says Shivaprasad, who felt the need to form a forum when he was in his final year.
He saw many of his classmates struggle to exhibit their unique paintings in exhibitions, "I discussed the idea with a few of my classmates. They agreed and we decided to conduct painting competitions and exhibitions for the students. Initially, we were confused and did not know where to begin. Krishna Setty, who is now the administrator of Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi helped us organise our first competition-cum-exhibition at Kala Grama in Bangalore University on February 8 and 9, 2015 for Visual Arts students. The response we received was great and there's been no going back since."
Art Matters has held three state-level competitions since 2015 and one national-level competition last year. They will be holding a national-level competition this year as well. The forum also organises competitions online to encourage students. Paintings have to be sent in on or before the 25th of every month. The best painting will be awarded the 'Student of the Month' award
The success that the team experienced had lead them to organise a bigger competition-cum-exhibition at the state level in May 2015 held at New Horizon College, Bengaluru. "There were a chain of events held after the state-level programme. Another hit programme was 'Repulse' which was held at Sankey Tank in 2016, amidst the small lake, trees and children playing around. People welcomed this idea. Till date, we have held exhibitions on important national days like Kargil Vijay Diwas, Independence Day, Republic Day and International Women's Day. I believe it is through paintings that social issues like education, poverty and sexual harassment can be addressed," he explains.
Art for the lakes: Actress Malavika Avinash looks at the paintings created by artists for the campaign called Ripples initiated to save the lakes of Bengaluru
Talking about another venture they organise, Shivaprasad says, "Last year, we held a conference for Applied Arts students who wanted to specialise in graphics. A talk called 'Art Talk' was organised where a famous artist came to speak and conduct workshops on present-day painting trends for Visual Arts and Fine Arts student. The registration fee that we collect from students is nominal and we ensure that this money is used to pay the artists and for the materials used for painting. This year too, we will be holding an Art Talk."