Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (CKP) is all set to host the next Chitra Santhe on January 4. “2020 is special to us,” says MJ Kamalakshi, General Secretary, Chitrakala Parishath. “The Parishath will turn 60 next year and we will mark the occasion with 1,500 stalls at the Chitra Santhe. We finalised the list of participating artistes from all over India.”
The Parishath was started in 1960 on two-and-a-half acres of land leased by the Government of Karnataka, with initial donations from HK Kejriwal, an industrialist. Bengaluru-based Russian artist Svetoslav Roerich donated several of his paintings and those of his father Nicholas in the early days.
In 1964, artist Nanjunda Rao’s Chitrakala Vidyalaya was added to the Parishath and in 1966, it was recognised as an art centre by the State and Lalit Kala Akademi.
Chitra Santhe is a popular street art fest with Bangaloreans. “It is a community event on Kumara Krupa Road offering art works in various mediums at affordable prices,” says Kamalakshi.
When the founder of CKP, Nanjunda Rao, died in 2003, a new committee was formed with DK Chowta as Secretary and Kamalakhshi as Joint Secretary. “Street art was thriving in Europe and some of us at CKP had travelled overseas to observe this. We had a series of meetings to ascertain if CKP could recreate such art fests once a year,” says Kamalakshi. And so Chitra Santhe became a reality in 2004.
“This is the 17th year of Chitra Santhe. In the beginning, the art circles did not think very highly of an art fair. They did not find it a dignified portal for selling art,” says Kamalakhshi. Chitra Santhe’s main achievement was creating an organised marketplace for people who found galleries unaffordable and making art accessible to all.
“We have art dealers from Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata coming over to gauge the art and place orders. We have gallery people buying paintings in bulk. Since Chitra Santhe is held on the first Sunday of every year, it is easy for people to remember and mark their calendars.”
Works three months in advance, Chitra Santhe has nearly a 100 people are involved in the arrangements. “We allot an 8 x 8 stall to each artiste and provide them accommodation and food,” says a member of CKP.
The inside galleries of the Parishath will have art by students and staff on the theme of farmers. “We have four galleries inside, and in the basement, the Devraj Urs Gallery is being curated by artist Suresh Jayram,” says the member.
Out of the artistes selected for the Santhe, 50 % are from Karnataka, including professionals and amateurs from every district. This year there will be artists from Hubli, Dharwad, Raichur, Mangaluru, Bidar and Mysuru from Karnataka. Artistes from Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa, Maharashtra, Goa will also participate.
“There is inclusivity as participants are a mix of national awardees, amateurs, professionals and caricature and tattoo professionals. There will be nearly two lakh paintings displayed from nearly 2,000 artists in mixed media. From graphic and oil paintings to portraits, village scenes, abstracts, traditional to sculptures and cast décor pieces, they will all be available.
Awards and recognition
Chitrakala Samman Awards, with a prize money of ₹50,000 dedicated to late CM Devaraj Urs; founder-president CKP Arya Murthy; philanthropist Kejriwal; and Mysore traditional painter Y Subramanya Raju will be given to senior contemporary artists.
“The Nanjunda Rao Award is a national award with ₹ 1 lakh awarded to the selected artist,” says Kamalakshi.
Chitra Kala Parishath started functioning from founder M Arya Murthy’s house in Shantinagar. MS Nanjunda Rao was the co-founder. It now has 18 galleries out of which nearly a dozen carry permanent collections of iconic paintings, sculptures and folk art, including Mysore paintings and leather puppets. “We shifted to the present complex on Kumara Krupa Road in 1977 with the the first All India Folk and Tribal Arts Exhibition,”says Kamalakshi.
* Chitra Santhe, with a budget of nearly ₹20 lakh, is one-of-its-kind street art show of India
* It extends from the Parishath Campus to Shivananda Circle and the CM’s Office; Cresent Road and the side roads near Gandhi Bhavan and Seva Dal
* With arrangements from Canara and Syndicate bank, card payments will be accepted
* Nearly two dozen CCTV cameras and home guards would be provided by the police
* BBMP will pitch in for garbage points and mobile rest rooms
* Nearly 2 lakh footfalls are expected with an estimated business of ₹ 3 crore business