Arart needs to be recognised as a source of income

Flowering vines of pepper grew wild in Kerala, but it was only after Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s arrival and the subsequent flourishing trade of the spice that the indigenous folk recognised the value of this commodity. This transformation in perception is what awaits the contemporary art scene in the State, said K.P. Thomas, convenor of the ongoing Contemporary Art Fair at the Kanakakunnu Palace.

The exhibition features over 300 paintings and has been organised as part of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF). “There is no dearth of talent here. But those who stay here grapple with a lack of recognition while their works lie in stacks at their homes, gathering dust, Mr. Thomas said.

“Art needs to be recognised as a source of income and a contributing factor to the State’s economy in terms of tourism,” said Mr. Thomas. Mr. Thomas said that while there were few isolated exhibitions that were held now and then, this particular exhibition garnered the scale it had, primarily because of the support shown by GKSF Director U.V. Jose. In addition, Kanayi Kunhiraman, who headed the organising committee, had succeeded in putting together an impressive collection of works. He added that artists like him hoped that a permanent gallery would be set up soon. “This would not just showcase art but would be a platform from where they can sell,” he said.

This exhibition will continue till January 26.