Updated: Feb 12
The ninth edition of Art Bengaluru, featured creative works from 21 reputed artists across different mediums bringing together a truly sublime experience.
Photo courtesy: Art Bengaluru
The purpose of art, as Pablo Picasso eloquently put it, “is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” However, as long as art stays confined within galleries, museums, and the elite corridors of the world, majority of humanity has little opportunity to experience its wondrous soul-cleansing effects. To increase art awareness among people and promote emerging artforms and artists, Art Bengaluru was started in 2010. Now after 8 successful editions, it is hailed as one of India’s leading art events, and brings together the best of artists, galleries, art collectors, and art aficionados under one roof, year after year.
The 9th Edition of Bengaluru’s first-ever and only art extravaganza started on 02 November with a grand Opening Night, which witnessed the art lovers of the city coming together to showcase their solidarity for the Festival. The evening included a beautiful performance by the Bangalore City Chamber Orchestra. The festival continued all month, till 30 November. The venue remained the same: UB City, the most popular hotspot for Luxury, Art and Culture in Bengaluru. Art Bengaluru 2019 introduced yet again a new wave of artists and performers into the emerging South Indian art market.
Art Bengaluru 2019 brought together 21 reputed artists from across the world, including USA, Netherlands, France and Saudi Arabia. Close to 200 works of art (including paintings, hand-blown glass sculpture, installations, video projects, 3D printed sculpture, photography, mixed media and digital art) were on display throughout The Collection, UB City. Furthermore, there were several workshops and talks by reputed artists including two crafts workshops by celebrated craftsmen from across India during this period.
International Artists at Art Bengaluru 2019
Afra Khan (Jeddah - Saudi Arabia), Daan Oude Elferink (Arnhem - Netherlands), Jordan Sitzer (Los Angeles - USA), Pierre Poulain (Paris – France)
National Artists at Art Bengaluru 2019
Anil Ijeri (Bijapur), Anni Kumari (Delhi), Chandrahas Y Jalihal (Gulbarga), Haribaabu Naatesan (Mumbai), Hariram V (Chennai), Harsh Nowlakha (Kolkata), Harshit Agrawal (Bengaluru), Pradeep Kumar D M (Bengaluru), R M Palaniappan (Chennai), Rekha Krishnamurthy (Bengaluru), Sruthi S Kumar (Kerala), Venugopala H S (Bengaluru), Vijit Pillai (Hyderabad), Emerging Artists under ‘The Art Bengaluru Emerging Artist Program’
Alayna Zaid (Bengaluru), Rupak Munje (Chennai), Sanjana Srikanth (Bengaluru), Shoeb Dastagir (Bengaluru)
Some of the highlights of the event included works by celebrated Dutch photographer Daan Oude Elferink, who presented some of his most dramatic works, capturing the glory of abandoned places. Long-forgotten castles, decrepit hospitals, deserted industrial facilities…each image tells a magical story of life lived once upon a time.
Internationally acclaimed artist, R M Palaniappan, who has studied advanced Lithography in Tamarind Institute (USA) during 1991 and was the Artist in Residence at the Oxford University in 1996. A recipient of several awards, honours and residencies, also showcased at the event. Haribaabu Naatesan’s work connects people more closely to their world. Perforce, interacting with a piece of art by Haribaabu compels closer examination, reflection, introspection, wonder and even bewilderment. The ordinariness of his medium – metal scrap and other detritus of consumption – makes messengers out of garbage. “I want my artworks to provoke people to think about the materials they consume; when they discard a cycle or computer, when they re-decorate their homes, they must be aware of how much junk they are creating” said Haribaabu. Anni Kumari explores the poetry and the paradox of contemporary realities- complexities of relationships, identities, and cultures through precise geometrical forms. She studied Politics and subsequently, Painting at the Delhi University, juggling with experiences of migration and displacement, at personal and socio-anthropological levels. These personal experiences, a penchant for the pigment black and an aptitude for mathematical observations, have shaped her practice that extends beyond the studio, into the classroom as an art educator and the wilderness as an academic researcher.
Harshit Agrawal is an artificial intelligence (A.I) and new media artist. Through his practice, he explores what he calls the ‘human-machine creativity continuum’- the melding of human and machine creative agency. He uses machines and algorithms and often creates them as an essential part of his art process, embracing becoming the cyborg artist. He often juxtaposes traditional art media and tools along with machines and computation, creating a space to both direct, and be guided by the machine
This year’s Art Bengaluru had a new unique addition, ‘Film Bengaluru’ – an International Film Festival organized in partnership with the UNESCO MGIEP focusing on the theme, “Kindness Matters”. Film Bengaluru which took place between 15 – 17 November 2019, and was a search for our planet’s most enlightened filmmakers who use their art for celebrating “Kindness Matters. Along with curated selections of film screenings, Film Bengaluru hosted panel discussions on cinema and kindness featuring eminent personalities along with opening the stage to captivating live performances by stellar artists. While Uzma Irfan is the Chairperson for the Festival, Grammy Award winning musician, Ricky Kej is the Festival Director. The films have been curated by Srinivasa Santhanam under the guidance of Anantha Duraiappah.
Speaking about the evolution of Art Bengaluru, Ms. Uzma Irfan, founder, Sublime Galleria & Director - Prestige Group, said, “Nine years ago, we had conceptualised Art Bengaluru as a dedicated festival for the arts. Ever since, it has been a trailblazer event, a celebration of art, culture and luxury, on par with the finest art shows across the globe. Our constant effort has been to put Bengaluru on the map of the international art world, and give India’s rich and diverse culture the global platform it deserves. This year, we have carried forward the tradition, with new artists – some established, others emerging. As we work to unite the art community, our focus is on promoting investment in art.”
Abhishek Naidu, curator, Art Bengaluru noted, “India’s contemporary art market is in a healthy space. A new generation of collectors are on the rise who are looking at platforms like Art Bengaluru to engage with some of the best emerging and established artists from India and beyond. Over the last decade, Art Bengaluru has played a pivotal role in forging spirited bonds between artists, galleries, art collectors and art enthusiasts, not only across India, but also in New York, Beijing, Paris, Amsterdam and other international locations. With Art Bengaluru 2019, we wish to further strengthen these bonds and boost the outlook for the Indian art market.”
The biggest USP of Art Bengaluru has been its ability to get the regular city-dweller and the finest of artists together, on familiar ground. Art Bengaluru is, essentially, an interaction with art. Familiarity breeds appreciation. It makes art an integral part of our lives and public discourse.
For additional information on Art Bengaluru 2019: