With installations in public spaces and a photo gallery in local trains, Art Chennai 2012 promises to take art out of the gallery and to the people.

What do you do when you when an elitist illusion about visual arts prevents the general public from even looking at it? Simple. Take art to the public and show them it is not so. That’s what the second edition of Art Chennai, Festival of Modern and Contemporary Art, is set to do.

“The first edition remained high-networked and we showed only at gallery spaces. This year, we want to make the festival inclusive; involve the public; help them learn about art and promote awareness, which in turn will promote appreciation of art,” says Sanjay Tulsyan, Convenor of this eight-day festival.

With innovative installations and shows in public spaces and non-gallery spaces like the beach, main roads, shopping malls, and coffee shops, and performances ranging from a concert by Strings to stand up comedy by Cyrus Broacha and Vikram Sathaye, the festival seeks to break the misconception about art being an elitist indulgence. Besides, the creative economy – art, culture and tourism – will have a larger economic impact only if it achieves the trickle down effect, feels Gouthami, actor and advisory board member of Art Chennai 2012.

One highlight will be a public photographic art project titled “A Week in the Life of Chennai” in association with Goethe Institut and Travelling Lens. Amateur and professional photographers will create a public document of Chennai by submitting photographs under various categories. These will be displayed as large-scale prints in MRTS stations across the city. “Many may not have the time or inclination to go to an art gallery. By putting up exhibits in places they cannot miss, we are making art feature in their plan for the day,” explains Varun Gupta of Travelling Lens.

There will be a lot of thinking and dialogue, says Sanjay Tulsyan, highlighting the fact that the selection of art and installations was not influenced by the likes and dislikes of people. “There will be art that many will disapprove of but it will initiate dialogue; that’s what we want.”

Besides art shows in 18 galleries, there will also be an auction for the benefit of Rotary Club of Chennai, select internship programmes for students, video mapping and speaker conferences. To give the festival a wider catalogue, six art galleries in India including Galerie 88, Kolkata, and The Guild, Mumbai, have been invited to put up shows at the festival. The festival will feature works of artists like Chaitanya Sambrani, Koumudi Patil, Bose Krishnamachari, Riyas Komu, Paritosh Sen, besides many others.

Art Chennai 2012, March 11-18 More details at www.artchennai.com


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