BENGALURU:The biggest challenge while working on wildlife art is depicting the habitat of your subject right. “To get this right, for a particular species, an artist must also be a naturalist and he or she has to do field studies,” says Prasad Natarajan, who is organising Artists for Wildlife and Nature First Annual Show.
The first edition of this show is open till tomorrow at Venkatappa Art Gallery, between 10 am and 7 pm. Natarajan, who formed the AWN collective in 2017 to promote wildlife and Nature art and encourage the interested, says that the exhibition addresses an urgent need for a platform that focuses on this genre.
At the exhibition, varied artwork will be on display – ranging from paper cutting, pastels and colour pencils to charcoal, Indian ink, oils and sculptures.
While there are many wildlife artists who have not been recognised, there are others who sell mediocre canvases – of blank-faced, ‘beautiful’ animals in oft-repeated settings – by the dozen. But Natarajan says that these paintings are made out of necessity. “The art market for wildlife art is very limited and hence the pocketful of artists try their best to make their subjects pleasing and sellable,” he says.But many artists also fail to field studies. “And it shows in their work,” he says. Prasad has been working with Indian ink and dip pen for about three years now. “Wildlife art in this medium is becoming rare now,” says this self-taught artist.
He travels all over the world to study his subjects’ behaviour, in their natural habitat. Natarajan says, “Gathering as much information as possible through images and field sketches helps me depict my subjects as accurately as possible. These sketches and images later transform into finished works at my studio Mango Grove Art Gallery/Studio.”
He narrates his most memorable experience, from his travels: “During one of my field trips studying Baya weavers, I spent more than eight hours sketching their nesting activities. While I was making these field sketches, one off the female weavers came and sat on my sketches… I will cherish that moment
There are many first timers at the ongoing exhibition at VAG. “But their works are as good as any top wildlife artist in India today,” says Natarajan, and names a few. “There is Rebecca S who is a lawyer and art teacher, Vinitha Dinesh who has a BEd and M Phil in bio chemistry and is a self-taught artist and Geetha Shree Rajanna who is an art teacher at Delhi Public School”.