Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Make visual Fine Arts popular!

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Awesome.

Stretch your feet across the center table and watch television while sipping cool milkshake in this October heat of Mumbai. Just Perfect.


In my case, I don't own a television. So I watch stuff on YouTube instead and console myself with newspapers and Facebook to keep in touch with the world around me. Today morning I picked a copy of the Mumbai Mirror likewise. Regular feeds apart, Indian badminton champ Saina Nehwal occupied an entire page, encouraging us all to consume here new endorsement - a cooking oil.

Seems good that lesser known sports are being encouraged in India of late. So Saina endorses cooking oils, Sania endorses Sprite drink and Vishwanathan Anand recommends NIIT. Not to be left behind, several professionals from other fields derive this privilege too... We once had Ustaad Zakir Hussain praising Brooke Bond's Taj Mahal tea, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor endorses multiple brands, so do Harsha Bhogle, Javed Akhtar, Pt.Ravi Shankar and his daughter.

Unlikely professions, unlikely brands. Blame it on my limited knowledge, but I've never seen a visual Fine Artist ever being paid to endorse a brand or a cause.

Yes, I AM complaining. About the lack of reach of visual Fine Art to average public. Advertisements and Endorsements are not just corporate funds flowing into another industry... they are also a testimony to the reach of your industry to the masses. Every other form of Art has gained popularity and acknowledgment with general citizens.... except visual Fine Arts.





I have never been able to understand this elitist attitude, this prudishness of my profession. Every art requires perfection, taste... Likewise every form of art is capable of giving joy too. A commoner saves money to buy tickets for a cricket match (nowadays football and badminton too), an average middle-class individual saves time to watch his favourite actor's movie every weekend. Groups gather to listen to Ghulam Ali's gazals ....but I've never seen anyone reserve his weekend to attend his favourite painter's exhibition. 

To be able to have a favourite, one must first know the collective bunch that exists there (and their works, of course). The common man's knowledge about modern art starts and ends with M.F.Hussain. Some others know sand-sculptor Sudarshan Pattnaik through email forwards. And nowadays, housewives have been introduced to faces like Bose Krishnamachari, Jitish Kallat, Sudarshan Shetty, Chintan Upadhyay etc. - not through their work but through their attendance of Page-3 parties. Page-3 typically portrays these artists as socialites, heedlessly neglecting their creditable contribution to Art.


I'm not making any profound points here. Just a simple question - Why don't we visual artists make our work accessible to the average public?

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2 comments:

Aamrapali Bhogle said...

Yes indeed - awareness about Fine Art is very poor amongst us common people. Other than legends (the really well-known personas), it is difficult to name specific works by today's artists. It's not as if there is no good work being done - only we aren't aware of it.

Agree with your take on page3 too!

Regards,
Aamrapali

Hemant Sonawane's Studio said...

This is so eerie, Aamrapali... Just after I published this post, I got tweeted about an article by Jerry Saltz on Saatchi website. The topic of debate is quite similar -

http://magazine.saatchionline.com/magazine-articles/essays/jerry-saltz-answers-your-questions-on-elitism-careerism-and-cronyism

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