‘A painting in every home,’ read the posters outside the ‘Chithra Chantha’ (art market) at Durbar Hall art gallery. Quite a few city folk were lured by the art market’s slogan and they turned up at the ‘chantha’ hoping to take a painting home.
The stalls put up by various artists around the Durbar Hall gallery piqued the curiosity of artists, art lovers and people just trying to bring some colour into their homes.
The art market, the first such experiment by the Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi, has had many visitors since it opened here on Wednesday.
“Such small markets for paintings are common outside the State. But this is a first for Kerala,” said artist Saji Narayanan, who has a stall at the art market.
The artists at the market, many of whom depend on other work for a living, welcomed the crowds at the fair as a sign of change in the State’s art culture. “If such markets catch on and people start considering buying art, then maybe artists won’t have to look for other work to survive,” said Mr. Narayanan.
Quite a few visitors, however, seemed to have taken the fair in the true ‘market’ sense. Shoppers, in their attempt to get the best bargains, were seen haggling with artists embarrassed to quibble about the price of their work.
The show, however, has given small artists a chance to exhibit their work, while also helping them make money from their art. Besides the good business, it has also given artists a chance to meet others in their line of work.
“I’ve got to meet so many other artists here whom I would have never known otherwise,” said Suchithra, a homemaker with a passion for painting with oil colours and working on Kerala-style murals. Even as visitors made their way along the stalls, artists were seen discussing the crowd at the art market, the state of the art scene in Kerala, and styles of painting.
Visitors too got a chance to interact with the artists and discuss their paintings. Artists working on water colours at the venue of the art market too drew a lot of curious looks from the visitors.
The art market features paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolours and other media, photographs, glass paintings, plenty of paintings in the Kerala mural style, and a few sculptures. The ‘Chithra Chantha’ concludes on Sunday.