BENGALURU: As DCP (traffic), Jija Harisingh recalls returning home “so, so tired”. Despite the high-stress job, the former top cop used to work on Tanjore, Mysore and oil paintings well into midnight. “I would work on some of them for over a month. The Mysore painting style, for instance, is very minute and mechanical and would help me de-stress,” she says.
Singh, the brain behind Bengaluru Art Mantram Festival of Art Craft Design which starts on Saturday, has always had a keen interest in art. A recipient of Indira Priyadarshini National Award for Contribution to Arts, Singh has held solo exhibitions in Washington, Wollongong and New Delhi, and has exhibited in London, Vienna, Berlin and Jakarta. She recalls raising funds for Kargil widows in 1999 in Delhi. “We continued doing art shows and festivals and in 2003, someone suggested that Bengaluru might be a place to organise art-related programmes since the scene was yet to pick up,” says Singh, who was one of the 50 Indian women artists chosen by ICCR for the international exhibitions of the Amrita Shergil Revisited project.
Over the last several years, Singh believes she has achieved her objective of creating a platform for artists to showcase their works and also allow art aficionados a glimpse into the plethora of talent. “It will also add another dimension of art and craft tourism both in Bengaluru and Karnataka. The state has always had a deep-rooted tradition of art and craft, and we’re hoping an event like this will revive its stature,” she says, adding, “This multi-venue festival is an opportunity for everyone to get involved in the dream of renewing the city’s image as the city of art and artists.”
The festival will include among others, an art souk; Kalagrama, a crafts market; a dance appreciation workshop; art involvement workshop for kids; exhibition by Padma awardees and interactions with them; and a national conference on arts, craft and design.
The festival will be held between Oct 12 and 26 at Rangoli Metro Art Centre, MG Road ITC Windsor, Golf Course Road, and Bangalore International Centre, Domlur.
Watch out for
Prominent personalities, including Laila Tyabji, Naresh Narasimhan, S G Vasudev, Bose
Krishnamachari, Prasad Bidapa and Prakash Belawadi, will be part of the fest which brings together artists, craftspersons, academicians to synergise both established and aspiring proponents of Indian arts, crafts and design. Some highlights include ‘Manasa’, the national conference on art, craft and design, which seeks to celebrate the cultural heritage of India through expert talks, panel discussions, a Prasad Bidapa fashion show, exhibitions and the series ‘Faces of Creativity’ by Yusuf Arakkal; Sustain Art, a celebration of the cultural heritage of India through interactive sessions and showcasing the work of selected Padma awardees, doyens of art and crafts, and revivalists who are carrying Indian heritage forward into the future.