This is how Art beats in Bengaluru


The Bengaluru art scene this year was hectic with new initiatives, stunning shows focussing on unusual mediums, some great retrospectives and art events

The rise and rise of comic art

The genre has come into focus this year in the city with a host of comic art festivals, collectives and platforms giving it the much-needed impetus. Bengaluru hosted its first-ever independent comic festival - Indie Comix Fest earlier this year, following it up with The Comix Courtyard, another festival serving the cause of independent comic artists.

This is how Art beats in Bengaluru

Designs for all

Interestingly, Bengaluru hosted two design festivals this year in quick succession. Bangalore Design Week in September and Bengaluru by Design in November tried to create a discourse around design through panel discussions, showcase, installations, workshops and screenings etc.

Important retrospectives

Artistic careers of a few seminal artists unfolded at National Gallery of Modern Art Bengaluru this year. This line-up included Balan Nambiar, SG Vasudev, Jitender Arya and the ongoing one by JS Khanderao.

This is how Art beats in Bengaluru

* Exhibiting his work of six decades which included stainless-steel sculptures, watercolours, enamels and oil paintings, Balan showed his photographs depicting 27 different ritual arts of Kerala and Tulu Nadu and enamels for the first time.

* “Inner Resonance: A Return to Sama” was SG Vasudev’s retrospective exhibiting his crucial works - paintings, drawings, tapestries and copper reliefs from different stages of his career. works, forging connections.

* “Through the Window” by JS Khanderao shows realistic portraits, paintings and landscapes that Khanderao is known for. A remarkable teacher, Khanderao established 'The Ideal Fine Art Society' in 1963 in Gulbarga.

* Jitender Arya’s “Light Works” traced the evolution of glamour photography in India through the late photographer’s images of musicians, models and film actors.

* JMS Mani’s retrospective at Gallery Time and Space also drew attention to the artist’s eclectic oeuvre which showcased the realistic representation of rustic life of Badami, prints, watercolours and drawings.

New initiatives

Nazariya, a Delhi-based platform to promote folk traditions launched the Forgotten Cultures Workshop Series in Bengaluru, with a Cheriyal workshop by Nagilla Ganesh at the Courtyard on KH Road. The cultural outfit plans to hold workshops of different art forms in the city, regularly.

* AWN - Artists for Wildlife and Nature, an online platform was formed this year by Bengaluru-based Prasad Natarajan, to bring such practitioners together. The outfit has had two shows in the city so far.


* Though several artists pass out of art colleges and take to art every year, Puia’s makes s a rather intriguing case. A former watchman at the construction site of Chickpet Metro Station, Puia’s potential as an artist was discovered by artists working on the murals at the metro station. After training under the artists, Puia from Mizoram helped them with the Bangalore Karaga Project commissioned by BMRCL.

This is how Art beats in Bengaluru

* AWN - Artists for Wildlife and Nature, an online platform was formed this year by Bengaluru-based Prasad Natarajan, to bring such practitioners together. The outfit has had two shows in the city so far.


Bengaluru-based artist Sangeeta Abhay featured in the third episode of a significant BBC documentary called Civilisation, which was telecast in the US earlier this year. The BBC was looking for a contemporary Indian artist inspired by ancient art and Sangeeta fit the bill. The film shows her at the World heritage site of Ajanta and Ellora talking about Buddha and his influence on her art.

Venkatappa Art Gallery in the dock, once again

The iconic art institution has once again become a bone of contention between the artists and the government. With the State Tourism department planning to demolish VAG on Kasturba Gandhi Road as the structure was found to be weakened upon inspection, the artists are once again up in arms, asking the government to revamp the building instead of razing it. The building was saved by the group of artists just a couple of years back when the Siddaramaiah Government had signed an MOU with Tasveer Foundation to set up Museum of Art and Photography (MAP). After non-stop protests by the community of artists, the government had to relent. Now the said MAP is coming up right opposite VAG.

Rumale Art Gallery being revamped

Rumale Channabasavaiah, known as the Vincent Van Gogh of India, has a quaint space dedicated to his art in Rajajinagar. The gallery has been revamped with professional lighting and a proper display system for the 120 paintings of different sizes, by Sanjay Kabe, Rumale’s close friend’s son. The site was alloted to Rumale by the government where he later build a house for himself and lived with his friend and friend’s family.

Other important shows

* RMZ Foundation is walking a unique path since its inception in 2016. This year it has engaged with two unique mediums of prints and sculptures. It has held printmaking workshops and sculpture symposiums with artists from all across the country. During the course of the workshops, school students and public are encouraged to come and interact with the artists.

This is how Art beats in Bengaluru

* The exhibition “Only A Mind Cannot be Sent Into Exile” by artist Veer Munshi dealt with Kashmir. Through paintings, photographs-based video work and sound pieces, Veer, who draws his roots from the Valley, he brought out various expressions on conflict.

* Another show that struck a chord was a photography exhibition “Land and Lens” by first-time photographers from the villages of Chamarajnagar and Sirsi. Organised by two NGOs Vanastree and Punarchith, the photographs were taken by people, who held a professional camera for the first time in their life like school headmasters, farmers, daily wage labourers, homemakers and auto-rickshaw drivers.

* The fact that Ganjifa, the ancient card game is now being reclaimed as an art form was attested by a mammoth event organised by Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (CKP). Around 150 ganjifa exhibits, live demonstrations, seminars, a Ramsons stall selling traditional board games were part of the exercise.

This is how Art beats in Bengaluru

* This year started with a stunning show of ceramics by Gallery Manora “Bowl’d Over”. You don’t come across this medium often and what added to it was how 10 artists took a bowl and unleashed their imagination.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 11:36:38 PM |

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