When art goes abroad

One of Jagdish Chintala's shows abroad. Photo: Special Arrangement  

There was a time when only a privileged few Indian artists could travel internationally with their works. With increasing awareness about Indian art and the quality of works produced by artists here, the demand for their works in the international art markets has only been growing. City artists too have had their works featured prominently at international shows and find that at times there is a better understanding of their works amongst international art lovers. Whether it is cityscapes, religious symbology, semi-abstract or abstract pieces, city artists are right there on the international art scene. Be it Fawad Tamkanat’s annual shows at international galleries, Jagdish Chintala’s exhibits in the US, UK and Germany or Poosapati Parameshwar Raju’s recent collection being showcased at the Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA) in Brussels, city artists have created a niche for themselves on the international circuit.

Known for his calligraphic style of works that depict religious symbology and Indian mythology, Parameshwar Raju says, “The invitation from MOSA came as a result of an ongoing effort of showcasing my works and the understanding of a new form that was created. The director of MOSA visited my studio in Hyderabad to see the works and it took a year to integrate the collection.” Some of the images that the artist exhibited included Rathas of Puri, Khanda and EkOnkar, Buddhist symbolic Astamangalas, the Paropagraha Jeevanam of the Jain symbolism, Ahura Mazda, to name just a few. He also had on display imagery depicting the life of Christ. “It was very moving to see visitors from all over the world going ecstatic on seeing the story of Jesus and in being able to comprehend the story of Rama in sequence in my Ramayanam series,” he adds.

Artist Jagdish Chintala, who has been showcasing his works at galleries across s and Europe for quite some time now, believes that it is important to successfully exhibit their works in the country in order to showcase them internationally. “It is a reflection of one’s success in the domestic art scene. When I began showcasing my works abroad – predominantly papier mache – there was nobody else doing the same in contemporary art. Art is like science and one has to do something new each time,” explains the artist, who has exhibited at galleries in Michigan, Florida, Chicago, Germany and UK.

It is also important that visitors to art exhibitions be able to relate to the works. Fawad Tamkanat, whose works are known for their typically Hyderabadi flavours, says, “I showcase more cityscapes and semi-abstracts than Indian imagery because art lovers there find it easier to relate to them. If it is too Indian then they might treat it as a souvenir and not serious art.” The artist, who recently exhibited his works in Denmark, says there are exceptions however. “I’ve had a pharmaceutical tycoon buy some of my Indian works. Turns out he visits India every year and has adopted a girl from one of the villages in the country and hence relates to my Indian works. The company itself invests in some of my works on Indian women for the office.”

Exhibiting abroad also has its advantages say city artists. For starters, galleries are very well organised and also works rake in higher prices when sold in the international markets. “It depends on how and who you work with. In case you are organising the show yourself then you have to take care of everything from scratch. I make it a point to work with curators and promoters and they handle everything right from venue to media interactions. Also the visitors to galleries abroad have a more international exposure to art so their perception is very different. Often there have been students visiting the gallery and hearing them speak so eloquently about art makes it all the more exciting for me to exhibit on an international platform,” explains Fawad.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 6:24:54 PM |

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