It was a Sunday like no other: loud drum beats, grand sculptures and paintings in vibrant hues. Kumara Krupa Road here turned into a life-sized canvas for thousands of artists as the 10 annual Chitra Santhe made a splash. It was a visual treat to thousands of art enthusiasts who strolled past the works of nearly 2,000 artists from across the country, and also witnessed some artists working live. While some artists chose to keep it simple and sold their paintings on simple A4-sized sheets, others decided to gloss it up by adding fancy frames to their paintings. The short stretch outside the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath was enough to give one a glimpse of the myriad forms of paintings on display — from simple black and white sketches to colourful abstract art.

Little artist

In the midst of seasoned artists was seven-year-old Anirudh Kannan, making expert strokes with the paint brush to create a deep blue ocean. As many as 75 paintings were displayed at his stall.

Apart from using the open gallery as a platform to sell their works, a few artists were seen interacting with potential customers. Sunananda Vinaychandran, an artist who had displayed her tribal-themed paintings, said that the festival provided “exposure and encouragement” to budding artists. “The festival is a good outlet, especially for artists who do not have any contact with the galleries,” she said.

Although a majority of the artists were from Karnataka, the santhe attracted artists from different parts of the country. Jeeva M., an artist from Kochi, said, “I am extremely thrilled with the response from the visitors. It is also heartening to see that the artists turn up in large numbers. It is a great place to meet like-minded people.”

As for the visitors, ecstatic as they were with what met their eyes, they were confused as a wide variety of works were available, with prices ranging from Rs. 100 to well over Rs. 10,000 .

Vinay Kumar, a software engineer said, “We can spend at least half an hour at each one of the 1,000 stalls. I am having such a hard time deciding which painting to buy as all of them are beautiful,” he said. On the other hand, Srinivasa Murali felt that there was a lot of repetition of work.

M.R. Kini, a retired businessman who had bought paintings, said, “I like collecting paintings, especially those from young artists. This is a fantastic opportunity for buyers and is also a great marketing platform for buyers.”

However, Mr. Kini had a piece of advice for the organisers: “This is extremely crowded and needs to be conducted once every quarter.”

But others begged to differ saying that the charm of the festival was in the crowded atmosphere on the roadside, recreating the original charm of santhes.