Sunday, January 29, 2017

Art in a Pune veggie market, again

Art Mandai 2017

Last year, Gauri Gandhi called some Pune artists together to sit in Mandai, Pune’s historic vegetable market, and exhibit our wares along with the vendors there. The event went well and it was a great experience.
In January 2017, the Art Mandai Group participated in the Pune Biennale at Let Art Work Gallery, with the theme Gauri suggested: Merawala Blue. We worked on a piece each, in our particular shade of blue. I had a terrible time, and painted a series which turned out to look so unappealing that I was in despair. At the last minute I went fishing … and, repetitive but true … up came Today’s Catch. I was away, interviewing for Ability Foundation, and missed the launch of the show and a spectacular performance by the inimitable Ruve Narang who is not just a writer and painter but a dancer too. Just a few days later it was time for Art Mandai again.
Art Mandai has two main purposes:
  • to integrate with local spaces and local communities, and 
  • to bring art into the mainstream, to people who avoid museums and galleries as restrictive or intimidating. 
Ours is a diverse group, with painters, sculptors, ceramic artists, masters of large installation, graphic wizards and more. One of my most favourites is Prabhakar Singh, who works with pieces of scrap metal and turns out evocative, lifelike figures (such as the ones seen here to the left and right).

One principle the Art Mandai Group follows is low pricing, so this year one of my products was a series of limited-edition plastic placemats incorporating an image of previous work along with a poem written for it.
I realised later that this was the first time my art and my writing had come together. Until then they had been quite separate, with the process of naming the pieces as the only point of contact. 

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