New spaces for art are emerging in Bangalore, and they have a lot more to offer through exhibitions and beyond finds HARSHINI VAKKALANKA in this round-up of the art scene in the city
One might say the year 2013 was a good year for art in Bangalore. The city saw the opening of at least two new spaces, Thalam and the Rangoli Metro Art Space.
While Rangoli has brought in new perspectives to art viewing and public art spaces in Bangalore, Thalam is growing as a space for emerging artists to showcase their work, especially work around social consciousness. Other recently opened up art spaces, like the Gallery Five Forty Five, which is slowly developing as an exciting space for unusual art within the ambit of visual art. The city seems to be slowly opening up to include other forms of unconventional art, such as performance art, installation art, live art and workshops for an experience of art.
Here’s what the new spaces feel about their growth in the last year and about how much Bangalore has opened up to art.Rangoli Metro Art Centre
Surekha, curator of the Rangoli Metro Art Centre says their performance, since the space opened up over six months ago has been better than expected. “Not only did we have many interesting shows in the galleries, but we also formed interesting associations with different groups,” she says. Some of the shows which garnered the most response were the photos of old Bangalore and the exhibition of the underground metro stations and the puppet shows, which brought together puppets from across the country as well as visitors across all ages and sections of society.
The latest exhibition on view in the gallery space, was the Namma Ooru-Namma Neeru, an exhibition of photographs based on the theme of water conservation.
“Each exhibition had its own kind of footfall from different pockets of society. Then we also had community drum jams and street plays in our space. We opened up our space for theatre and music. The auditorium has also come alive in the last two months with contemporary dance performances, plays and a lot of workshops.” Surekha draws attention to the fact that the whole stretch of the Metro Art Centre, was being utilized so every time somebody walked in they would see something new, and the gallery hopes to attract a permanent crowd that keeps coming back
“I think we have been successful in reaching out as a public space.”Thalam
“We had our first show in February and we have been growing slowly since then. But we have had many good shows and put together different types of events,” says Perumal Venkatesan (Pee Vee) co-founder, Thalam.
“Though we are not pulling as many people as some of the bigger galleries do, we understand it takes time because going to a gallery is not like going to a restaurant. Only those who are seriously interested will walk in.”
Pee Vee points out that Thalam not only conduct exhibitions, but also film screenings, workshops or storytelling events, many times with an underlying social themes.
“Our vision is to showcase emerging artists who are struggling to find a platform and we have had 10 months to reach out and identify them. We believe that every time somebody comes in, they would have something new to take back. We want to make it a regular visiting space that can engage people.”Five Forty Five
Five Forty Five who will turn two in April, is happy to have shown emerging artists from across mediums.
“We have shown artworks in mediums, like print making or new media, that are typically not seen in other galleries,” says Sonali, Gallery Five Forty Five.
“We like the fact that we showed original comic art by Appupen, we showed works by Asuka Nirasawa, a Japanese contemporary artist. We also showed new media works, in three video installations and associated drawings by Megahna Bisineer.”
And each of these artists are shown, says Sonali, because they would have created these works regardless of whether they had a chance to show them or not.
“We are booked for the next six months and though we are happy to explore other forms of art, we want to focus on visual art. Next year, we want to see if we can take these artists to other cities in collaboration with other galleries that share our vision and focus.”From the other side
“Recently, NGMA gave me an opportunity to do a performing art piece and I worked alongside artists like Seema Kohli, I see that galleries like Sumukha have also started opening up to performance art,” says artist Jeetin Rangher.
“I see that Bangalore has opened up to many different kinds of art. The Rangoli Metro Art Centre is open to everybody.
“Younger artists are getting a chance to show their works and visitors don’t feel it’s a confined space where only sophisticated people go.
“People are now becoming more open to art, they are seeing it in different places.”