Curator Soma Das's journey has been a long one — from loving art to actually being in the thick of it
They were all there. The art-connoisseurs, collectors, critics and a few artists too. The final part of the art show “From the Form to the Formless” put up at Taj Vivanta was held at Taj Residency, where the exhibition continued for another day.
This concluding event also saw the launch, for Bangalore, of the Indian Contemporary Art Journal, a quarterly circulated to galleries, artists and premium-art collectors and published by Kalavishkar and Bombay Art Society. Artist Yusuf Arakkal launched it.The exhibition subtitled A Parametric Study of Indian Contemporary Styles featured 16 artists.
And basking in the success of the show was curator Soma Das. This is her third show. Explaining her passion for art, Soma says: “I always wanted to be an artist and study it formally. But opposition from family who felt art would not provide a steady income, made me take another path. I went on to acquire an MA in French from CIEFL, Hyderabad.”
However, her love for art persisted and she consciously and unconsciously imbibed a lot from her study of art books, visits to museums and galleries in USA (to where she relocated after marriage) and Europe. Involved in writing and translation and bringing up children for the next few years, she returned to India with family in 2000. In 2006, she took her first formal step into the world of art when she began writing on art. “The visual dimension was always there inside me. And because of my background, my writing on art had an academic and analytic approach. I am rather bookish, you know,” she smiles.
Curating a show was the next step. The first was 2008, the second in 2009, and now the current one. Curating is the quality-control process for a show and a very challenging job, says Soma. First, one has to establish theme relevant to art and society. Next one must crystallise the introduction and conclusion. It is not enough to have begun well, one must also see it through to a good conclusion.
Finally, one has to be careful not to end up deconstructing what one set out to construct in terms of the show's theme and message. “How you put these things across is important. A single wrong work can ruin a show. By wrong work, I mean one that lacks in quality or whose content is incompatible with the message of the show,” explains Soma.
How long does it take to curate an art show? “I take about four to six months. Some exhibitions take a whole year. But for an art-lover it is all worth the effort.” This successful show was definitely worth it for the curator and visitors.