KUMARA PARK ROAD: The 12th edition of Chitra Santhe, held on Sunday, was bustling with artists and art lovers—an estimated 3 lakh people.
Right up to early afternoon people strolled the length of the road, a few actually picking up art they appreciated, but most simply enjoying the street fare or sitting under the vast canopies to be sketched by artistes. Some yawned as they waited, others blew soap water bubbles.
There was also an electric cart that ferried the older and the differently-abled people from one end of the street to the other.
Nothing seemed out of place here, except perhaps the few vehicles that had gained access to what was a no-vehicle zone for a day.
Known to bring affordable art to the people, the santhe had on display all kinds of work: from the traditional water colours, to multi media kitsch to hipster post cards to folk art forms from different corners of the country to reproductions of classical works. Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, which organises the annual fair, was milling with crowds. A gallery here featured works of alumni. The santhe itself hosted over 1,400 artists from across the country.
Kids’ day out
Every year artiste D B Dev from Gulbarga brings a couple of children to the Chitra Santhe to take in the art and atmosphere.
"Children are born with god-given talent in art, but in places like Gulbarga, they have little opportunity," he says, adding that they don't even have access to a paint brush. "And their parents say don't bother with all this. Just study."
So it's the artists' responsibility to encourage young talent, he believes. "These kids come to my studio every day after school. We have a lot of waste—brushes, paints—which they play around with," says Deva who has been participating in the santhe for six years now.
And he bears the expenses of bring a handful of children here, and they sit at his stall and paint by his works, sometimes splashing colour on them which he patiently wipes clean.
Visual arts aren't all that catch your eye. Udayvir Singh, an alumnus of the institute who usually prefers to dabble in sketching, painting and sculpture, walks around dressed in a pink kacche with a tee and a headdress of leaves.
“I’m a tree and I’m going to sing a song,” he tells City Express, and bursts into one on the various cycles revolving around the Tree. From one tree comes another, and then a forest; what’s in the forest, he asks those gathered around.
Animals, someone responds. “There are supposed to be, but are there really?” No, they’re vanishing, someone else volunteers. “Yes, the forests are fast depleting,” he replies.
“This is how I talk about trees, the environment,” he says later, adding that perhaps he would have several more performances through the day.
In one hand, he holds a sceptre of sorts, topped with leaves too, and in the other, a gourd-like container from which he gives you seeds to plant in your garden — ‘some sorekai (bottle gourd), badnekai (brinjal) or kumblekai (pumpkin)?’. And he moves on.
Of picture books and post-cards
Yumi Isotake, a Japanese artist who goes by the name Monica, has been living in Bengaluru for the past two years. At Chitra Santhe, she’s exhibiting her art work that mainly consists of post cards, picture books, magnetic bookmarks, and larger prints. Working mostly with watercolours and crayons, Yumi’s work is inspired from nature and the cosmos.
“Most of my work is set in a fantasy world where various elements of nature combine to tell a story,” she says.
She also gave the reporters a quick view of her picture book, titled, A Special Day, where a fish in the ocean befriends the moon.