The small format works of 25 artists and sculptors on show at Cholamandal Artists’ Village aim at encouraging youngsters to appreciate and acquire art

For the artistically inclined youth in this country, options are few. The reality is that to enjoy works of art, she or he may have to visit galleries, museums and browse through magazines because, let’s fact it, art is expensive. The Cholamandal Artists’ Village’s show, Contemporary Small Format Exhibition of painting and sculpture holds a promise - that when realised - could break this vicious circle that ends up hurting artists too besides coming in the way of a young collector’s ambitions. “All the works exhibited here are of artists who live in the village or have stayed here for workshops,” says S. Nandagopal of Cholamandal Artists’ Village. Works of close to 25 artists and sculptors ranging from an affordable Rs. 4,000 up to a lakh and half are on display. “We want to give young collectors a chance to own a piece of art,” Nandagopal explains, showing us around the gallery. Small works of art dot the walls, with a sprinkling of sculptures from names old and new. These small works sit in the gallery at the Cholamandal Centre for Contemporary Art, overlooked by large canvases from the K.C.S. Paniker Museum of the Madras Movement that houses works of the masters of the field who were instrumental in creating new works of immense value between the 40s and 70s.

“I have seen that in the West parents gift Museum cards to children as young as eight years old so they can experience art. When you grow up like that from a young age, art becomes an integral part of who you are,” Nandagopal says. When Nandagopal first started displaying his works would sell, three decades ago for Rs. 15. Today, art does not come easily. “We hope that with these exhibitions we can inspire young artists as well as patrons.” The Village first conducted a Miniature Format Show back in 1971 in Pune and later in Chennai and Mumbai. On the objective of such shows an excerpt from the brochure first published in 1972 says, “Small sized pictures and sculptures, if priced low, can reach a larger art loving public and eventually help create a genuine boom for art. Art is certainly not for the rich alone. It is no luxury but a dire necessity for large numbers of people.”

We chance upon one of the artists at the gallery, G. Latha whose six canvases brim with meaning; a statement on the state of women – an almost pale sketch of faces set in the backdrop of vibrant colours. “I have depicted women in different age groups in these painting. Our wants are more, with passing time but true joy is in sharing,” she says talking about her work. “In these works my women search and long for meaning and togetherness. It is almost as if they are lost and need to be woken up from this daze,” she adds.

Contemporary Small Format Exhibition is on at Cholamandal Artists’ Village, Injambakkam till April 7.