Art Art

Art for everyone

Manohar Chiluveru’s installation depicting environmental imbalance  

When Hyderabad-based artist Manohar Chiluveru begins talking about the lacunae in the city’s art ecosystem, it isn’t a sob story that rues the lack of institutional support. Independently, he has been working on a 24-city project titled Odyssey through which he hopes to bring people closer to art.

The artist moved from Warangal to Hyderabad 20 years ago and observes how this city has witnessed steadfast growth in IT, cinema, sports and other areas. “On the contrary, art has seen a slow growth. Galleries have been working to the best of their abilities, but mostly focusing on demand and supply of saleable art works. If we have been able to made huge strides in sports, it’s also thanks to the infrastructure. Art will also stand to benefit with some support,” he observes.

He has taken part in ancillary events held as part of biennales in Venice, Kochi, Pune, and recently in the 12th edition of Manifesta in Palermo, Italy. Manifesta is Europe’s Nomadic Biennial and Manohar was part of the ‘Art & Connectography: Remapping the Global World through Art’, a collateral event that involved international artists.

Public art

Meanwhile, he has also been travelling through Europe, meeting art enthusiasts, curators, and visiting galleries and museums for his pet project, Odyssey (theme: ‘Balance and its possible effects’). A recurring motif is an image or sculpture of a man (or a woman) trying to balance an object (in some cases a lemon) on a spoon. The artist uses this as a metaphor in his public sculptures and installations to highlight environmental, sociological and political imbalance.

The seeds of this project were sown in 2007, only to be put on hold. He revived it in 2017. He calls it the art and book project that will travel to 24 cities, in three editions covering eight cities each.

Art for everyone

The project will evolve with each city but there’s a road map – meet people and learn their impressions of a city; understand the city’s art and culture; document these impressions through photographs and videos that can be a basis for paintings, street art, sculptures and live performances; invite people (including non-artists) to a collective painting project; and finally, Manohar’s solo 12X30 ft painting that will reflect the impact a city has had on him.

Nomadic Biennial
  • Manifesta, the roving European Biennial of Contemporary Art, was launched in the early 90s by a Dutch initiative. Manifesta changes its location every two years. This year’s edition is on in Palermo, Italy, till November 4.

Among these, talking about the collective painting initiative, he says, “There are several creative people out there and many of them fear being judged and hesitate to come forward and paint. So what if there’s a splash of paint where you don’t want it to be? Try and see how the art takes you forward.” As an offshoot, in March 2018, he spearheaded a one-day art camp in Hyderabad in collaboration with Alliance Francaise where artists and a few non-artists participated.

Odyssey will result in 24 public sculptures and paintings and he likens them to 360 degrees of separation. The plan is to also have a performative and collaborative event titled ‘The Balance and Race’.

Manohar hopes Odyssey will culminate in building a global art and creative network through an art festival (tentatively called Kriya Fest).

Room for ideas

Talking about why he wants to take Odyssey to 24 worldwide cities, Manohar says, “Visiting Venice for the Biennale changed my perspectives; it was an eye opener to see how different countries are represented by their country pavilions. The scale of the event and the room for new ideas are impressive. I wanted a project that will bridge the disconnect we have towards art,” he says.

The project is underway in Rome and Palermo and he plans to take Odyssey to Delhi, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin among several other cities. “In India it started off in Pune, which I consider a pilot to the series,” he says. There will be a catalogue of the work done in each city and at the end of Odyssey, he plans to have a consolidated book.

The artist is collaborating with different international curators for the project.

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Printable version | Nov 20, 2021 4:35:12 PM |

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