Mangalore may get 3,000 sq ft art gallery with library when Rangamandira is ready
For the 44-year-old city-based artist Rajendra Kedige, being appointed as Karnataka Lalitkala Academy coordinator for Dakshina Kannada, is an opportunity to consolidate growing interest in art in the region.
Mr. Kedige is a self-taught painter who has held more than 25 exhibitions. He shared his views with The Hindu.
How do you see your new role?
There is a feeling among artists across the State that art scene here is vibrant. We (Chitra Chavadi of which I am the Organising Secretary) have been holding programmes such as Chitra Santhe (art festival) every year. From 2008, there has been a surge of activity. As coordinator, I can communicate to the Bangalore-based academy and get the programmes and plans of the academy implemented in Dakshina Kannada.
What can Mangalore expect in the days to come?
There is some good news. In the very first meeting of the coordinators last week, the academy accepted my demand for organising a “Kala Rasagrahana” (art appreciation) camp in Mangalore, which can happen in a couple of months. Second, the academy has agreed to hold an artists’ camp so that artists from different parts of the State stay here for three or four days and produce artworks and interact among themselves. Then there will be mobile art exhibitions in the rural areas of the district.
How is Mangalore responding to artists nowadays?
There is some perceptible improvement in the understanding of art. More and more households, commercial establishments, and government offices are thinking of art to decorate their walls. There is a mural in Dakshina Kannada Milk Union and the Mangalore City Corporation could have one soon.
How many professional artists do we have now?
It is difficult to say. There could be more than 10 in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. But those who are not entirely living on art but are significantly contributing to it are in great number. I will be making a list and put their details on the website of the academy soon. The Chavadi itself has 60 members.
What about art education?
We have two schools – in Mangalore and Moodbidri – offering formal courses. But there are many artists who are teaching art in an informal way. Some of them are doing a good job.
Your prescription for growth of art…
Parents should not stop at making their wards participating in competitions. They should take children to art exhibitions and make them interact with artists. That is not happening now.
We are hopeful of getting 3,000 sq ft gallery with library of art books in the proposed Rangamandira in Mangalore. It will be available for a nominal rent. Once we get that, artists of repute from across India will be able to hold their exhibition in a more encouraging environment.