Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sculpture Symposium in Tamil Nadu... Jan 2011........ but wait!!! Read this first....

It's a kind of irony. India, globally famed for its vast Art & Cultural heritage, is more ignorant of its untapped wealth than ever before. While monuments like Taj Mahal, Lal Quila, Kutub Minar, Gateway of India, various Fortresses and Palaces continue to attract foreign visitors every year... the Indian Government relies too much on old structures and artifacts to propel tourism. There's little effort to encourage present talent, art and architecture. If an artist or architect wishes to practise on monumental work, they have to 'arrive' in India via foreign shores.

It was thereby a surprise when Google Search threw up articles of a Sculpture Symposium to be held in South India. I know, there are far more such camps being held here...yet most of them are just that - CAMPS. Never put open to the general Art community, these residencies remain a privilege of a select group of mid-career artists from exclusive groups. Such exclusivity resists promising talent from the younger lot enter events that let them create monumental artworks. Hence selection process of these symposiums is far from transparent... and the occurrence of these events is never known to the common Indian man. No publicity, no marketing, no scrutiny. So I was indeed surprised to see an Open Call to artists for an Indian symposium.

This event to be held at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu from 21Jan - 4Feb 2011, is the brainchild of a few overseas sculptors with local help from :
S.Kumar (Shanmuga Art Gallery)
R.Somasundram (Parvati Sculpture Works)
D.V. Murugan (sculptor)

In response to the Open Call, 25 sculptors from across the world will unite to form the largest symposium of its kind in India in recent times - an event organized by artists for artists. Though this pay-all-for-yourself event might not interest some senior sculptors in the field, it is a big leap for this generation of yet unsung heroes in Art. There is no award for participation, no allowances too. Yet for a meager participation amount of  Euro150 (INR 9,150/-), each sculptor will be provided with a monumental block of black granite, electricity, compressors and shared conveyors and crane for 16days on site. Travel, accommodation and food would cost extra but it's hardly a cause of concern at Mamallapuram, where cheap stay at local guest-houses can be arranged for.

Wish more of such symposiums are held in India. It is embarrassing to require overseas acclaim to be acknowledged in ones own country.


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