Painting exhibitions, galleries do a world of good to artists in Tiruchi

A lobby in a hotel or a public building is often the first glimpse a visitor gets of a city. The space can speak volumes about the city’s culture, history, and tradition through the artwork that adorns the walls here.

While a few public buildings allot space to display art, hotels and restaurants in Tiruchi either pick up works of artists from cities like Chennai or settle for prints of less expensive original works. Artists based in Tiruchi hardly figure in the picture.

However, thanks to a couple of exhibitions and art galleries, artists from Tiruchi, who hardly find any patrons in their hometown, are slowly attracting more buyers.

“Art as interior décor is yet to become popular in homes and public buildings here,” says Eugene D’Vaz, artist and retired lecturer. “Even among buyers, there are very few takers for modern art or abstract art in cities like Tiruchi,” he says.

But there are more people buying works of city artists as gifts for occasions such as weddings and jubilees, says artist Village Mookaiyah, echoing a trend acknowledged by artists and galleries alike. “But from some enquiries we have received, I believe public establishments are warming up to the idea that there are artists in the city who can do a good job.”

If works of talented local artists are to adorn walls in the city, it is up to the architect to push it, say artists. “When it comes to placing a work of art, it often depends on the suggestion of an architect who creates a wall or a space which would showcase the art to advantage,” says Vijayakumar, director, CARE School of Architecture.

“We can hardly approach a builder or proprietor for recommending our art; it is only an architect who can suggest it to their client,” says senior artist Ravi Laks who recently created a 30-foot mural depicting folk arts like poikal kuthirai at a new hotel on Karur Bypass.

Art galleries and art exhibitions have a crucial role to play, as they popularise local art, say artists. “So far, we have approached architects and proprietors we are familiar with,” says Suresh, proprietor, Kalanjiyam Art Gallery. “But very rarely does an architect or builder approaches us for original work.”

According to Mr. Vijaykumar, a well-equipped gallery where works of at least five or more artists can be displayed at a given time is essential if the trend is to be encouraged. “It will also provide architects with a place to take interested clients to,” he says.

Hailing the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation’s initiative to paint the walls along arterial roads of the city, Mr. Ravi says government buildings in the city can give an impetus to artists by showcasing an art work.

“When art is used to decorate public spaces, it is a stamp of the city’s aesthetic taste. Art can be used to showcase the city’s pride,” he says. Famous or less known places appear in a new light when painted by an artist as he creates not a replica but an artistic interpretation of a familiar place.

“In fact, a certain percentage of the budget of government buildings provides for a work of art to be included in the décor, but it is rarely followed,” says Mr. Vijayakumar.

Although local patronage for art has increased, it needs to be intensified, and artists, architects and galleries all have their parts to play.