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Art in-house

The artist-in-residence concept is slowly finding a place in the art map of the city

CANVASES MOUNTED on easels, brushes and paints strewn all around, vinyl, stencils and other objects are seen in another corner... S. Ganesh (from Chennai) and Musuram Ravikanth (of Hyderabad) are two young artists working at Kalakriti Art Gallery. While you watch their process of work and interact with them, they inform they are happy to be artists-in-residence for a week at the gallery (those interested can visit Kalakriti from 11 p.m. to 6 p.m. till June 18). Generally an artist-in- residence means an artist is given space by an organisation (mostly in its premises) to basically work. The duration depends on the organisation - it could be temporary (from a week or more) or permanent. This concept seems to have trickled into the galleries as well - Kalakriti Gallery has started with Ganesh and Ravikanth.

"The artist, who is given space to work in an organisation, is at times an honorary member. It depends on how the organisation would like to benefit by the presence of the artist who could be a permanent feature also though it is seldom so. In some cases, the artists are provided place and remuneration. Sometimes equipment is also provided. The artist may leave behind one or two works for the organisation," says well-known artist Surya Prakash, an artist-in-residence (permanent) at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute. Surya Prakash was also artist-in-residence at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

Surya Prakash has his studio at the premier eye institute. Although he works there for himself, he is involved in organising art-related activities for the institute. "I have collected works of art and organised lectures and exhibitions too. Also, we have had artists- in-residence for short periods of time who have left behind their works," adds Surya.

Such a concept is slowly gaining ground in the twin cities. The Indian School of Business had Laxma Goud and sculptor Karl Antao as artists-in-residence for a short while to enable interaction between the students and artists and thereby ensure a dialogue between management and art. For Prshant Lahoti of Kalakriti Gallery such a concept "facilitates interaction between the artists and others, particularly students of art. We want to make it a monthly feature with one artist from Hyderabad and one from outside. Importantly, we are looking at young artists and giving them a platform to work. Some basic requirements like accommodation, food, materials are taken care of and they are also given a small remuneration as well. The idea is to have artists (painters, sculptors and print-makers) from different parts of the country."

"This gives me an opportunity to experiment and work," says upcoming artist Ravikanth. "It is useful for youngsters like me and helps create general awareness of art," says Ganesh, who is scheduled to go to Edinburgh Printmakers' Studio in July for a stint. While Ravikanth is painting two canvases, Ganesh is trying to make an art object (like a relief) using mixed media. "Such a concept of artist-in-residence (for a long duration) helps a young artist to get a platform to work. If the artist is from a different city it is an experience for him/her. There is a certain amount to privacy and less disturbance as compared to a camp where there are many more artists," says Sisir Sahana, who has been allocated space for a studio on a permanent basis at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute. "It is an honour for me to be associated with such a prestigious institute. Besides the free space, the institute also extends infrastructural support. This is a stable platform to work. The institute does not expect anything but I give some work at times," notes Sisir.

Says Surya Prakash, "At times there are artists from abroad who are willing to come to India at their own expense but look out for space to work and want to also gain experience of culture. For these people the short-term artist-in-residence programme is good." He is not in favour of galleries doing so. "Galleries should not because of the commercial element. If anybody or an organisation with no background in art and culture does so they can take the benefit of the artist in moulding their complex."

If more organisations/institutions promote this concept then it would be beneficial to the artist community at large and indirect benefit would accrue to the organisation as well.


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