The State government alone cannot promote artists and it is high time that society comes forward to endorse them, artists who are displaying their works at the ongoing Contemporary Art Fair in the capital city has said.

“Art, as a creative commodity, should be cultivated in the State,” says noted sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman, who is spearheading the exhibition-cum-sale under the aegis of the sixth season of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF).

Featuring more than 300 works by over 200 artists, the fair, a first-of-its-kind attempt to address the lack of marketing opportunities, is a significant step for marketing art. Those purchasing the works will get the GKSF coupons.

The response to the fair at Kanakakkunnu Palace was overwhelming and the sale of 15 paintings was a big encouragement to the artists participating in the innovative drive, he said, during an interaction with media persons.

Artists from the State are moving out to live, as art and art forms are being neglected. Painters and sculptors are treated as third-class citizens. “Art will improve only if artists have status. They have to sell their works to live. But in Kerala, there are no buyers. People should understand that investing money in art is like investing for land and gold,” he added. Artist and convenor of the fair K. P Thomas said the city needed a permanent gallery and stage for artists to work and exhibit their works for the people. The media should also extend support to the artists, he said.

Many artists also demanded that art and craft should get more emphasis in educational institutions. U.V. Jose, GKSF director, said the directorate would take steps to see the works of the artists online.

Fair is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p. m. on all days till January 26.