Art camps are generally occasions for interaction - artists with other artists,
and artists with the media and the masses. A time when artists are out of their
studios and workshops, the period is in fact meant to invigorate the creative
process and reinforce links between society and the artist community. While one
can see the development of a painting, the most stimulating aspect is the interaction
that takes place in the cauldron of like minds. The insights contributed by various
members of the camp are indeed the most rewarding products of the camps.
The third day at the Hyderabad Art Society's diamond jubilee celebrations painting camp in Shilparamam, Madhapur, was indeed a satisfying experience. The makeshift studios occupied by the 26 artists in the dramatic environs of this craft village were a totally different affair from the usual hullabaloo of melas and fairs organized here. And the innumerable cups of tea making their rounds are indicators of the camaraderie growing between the 26 artists from Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi.
But the enthusiasm and curiosity of the local populace to know more about the happenings of the local art process is the popular issue. In fact, this happens to be a pet query of anybody who arrives here. The quaint culture of a city gradually being reshaped by the IT hype has resulted in various shades of artistic development.
The eroding Nizami culture stands out today as a sharp contrast in the midst of the transition that Hyderabad is going through. In a city renowned for its architectural grandeurs, the modern arts have, frankly speaking, hardly any consequence upon the people or their lifestyles. Unlike in Bangalore, the plastic arts here are limited to a very closed circle of people.
The reasons for this isolation spawn a serious debate that becomes the pivot of discussions in this camp. The general cry is for support in the form of funds. While this fact is undeniable, one should also understand that a lucid strategy ought to be chalked out - one that will involve as many people as possible in spreading the awareness of art.
Five-star hotels, collectors and cultural institutions are busy organizing art camps, but the basic concept of involvement is generally missing on the agenda. There is no proper introduction of artists, no slide shows or public dialogue. The only concentration is upon accumulating works done by the artists.
The media also has a role to play here, in the sense that the lack of orientation of the art reporters - or even critics for that matter - maintains the lacuna between the artists and the masses. The media unfortunately harks after names that have considerably circulated in their own pages. The initiative to discover artists is generally substituted for public relations. This issue can be seriously addressed only if the media attempts to review their art coverage.
Well, lets discuss the camp itself! The 19 local artists - Sheshagiri Rao, Rajaiah, P P Raju, Narendra Rai, G Y Giri, Subhash Babu, Anjani Reddy, Narendra Nath, Sisir Sahana, Narappa, Vani Devi, Ananthaiah, Shinde, Srinivasa Chary, Sirajudeen, U Krishnamurthy, Rajeshwara Rao and Mallesam may not have changed the concept of their style and practice, but here is another platform for them to exchange ideas with their contemporaries from other regions.
While Charan Sharma has flattened his canvas as he does a couple of interesting doors, you can vouch for the simplicity in the representation of the curiosity about Indian myth and iconography of Muralidharan. His childlike straightforwardness on canvas will always amaze his spectators.
Basak's surrealistic preoccupation supplies a fresh perspective each time. The tiger against its own shadow prowling in the psyche of the artist supplies another image of magical realism. The other artists are Bhaskar Rao from Bangalore, Ashok Mullik and Subrato Gangopadhyay from Calcutta and Rajesh Sharma from New Delhi.
Although the camp is near completion, it is too early to comment on and far more rewarding to look at the work.
The sponsors, Shilparaman and SJK Steel Corporation Ltd, Hyderabad, should be appreciated for the support that they have extended to art and artists.
The completed works will be displayed on March 31st at the venue. Please contact 334-4384 for further details.