Making public the private spectrum of art

Festival mode it is, in this part of the country. Checkered bus shelters and bridges have sprung up randomly, like the wild mushrooms that pop up after the rains.

Published: 28th July 2022 01:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2022 01:24 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Festival mode it is, in this part of the country. Checkered bus shelters and bridges have sprung up randomly, like the wild mushrooms that pop up after the rains. People are heading to these spots in droves, with multi-coloured ideas for photo sessions on black and white squares. If you think this is another discussion about Smart City projects, let me assure you that this is something grander — the 44th Chess Olympiad has arrived on our shores! We even have our own official mascot, an endearing brown horse aptly named Thambi. 

As much as the game may fare very poorly on the popularity chart, when compared to mass entertainers such as cricket and football, or may never have us following the Olympics ritual of checking our medal tally every morning, in the hope that there would be a leap in the numbers, yet, we have always swelled with national pride everytime a Grandmaster emerged from our midst. Now, with all the publicity tactics undertaken by the government, detachment to the game has been rendered impossible. Every citizen of the state has been included in the festivities, giving a sense of belonging to all. 

And so it is, with many such international events from across spectrums that have been brought to our land from beyond oceans. Packaged and promoted cleverly, they have always managed to metamorphose into grounds for regional celebrations. Sadly, the field of art has remained untouched by these magnificent schemes. No benevolence has ever been showered on the much neglected arena of art. No state funds too have ever been allocated towards showcasing art from around the world along with the finest our country has to offer. Most art fairs and biennales have primarily been private ventures. There are a few exceptions though, like the Kochi Biennale for instance, which are supported by the government. 

Picture myriad-hued flyovers, colourful pavements vying for your attention, while public pillars announce the arrival of sculptural forms for eyes used to plain columns of concrete. Imagine these, dotting the streets of our cities, cheerfully declaring an approaching international art exhibition, and providing selfie opportunities for all you hungry social media patrons, thirsting for not-seen-before unique backgrounds for that perfect shot. Planned and executed flawlessly, it could very well turn into the most awe-inspiring spectacle that the common man has ever experienced. For what better example than art, can be found, of how limitless are the possibilities of imaginative thinking. 

Spectacular extravaganzas need government initiative or atleast funding. Art and culture have always been the founding stones of any civilisation and it is not only of utmost importance, but also an essential necessity that all governments attempt to preserve it, as well as constantly bring art into the realm of the general public. Art may have no championships to entice huge investments. No mascots or World Federations to voice its existence. Invite it nevertheless, to our horizons. Watch it enrich the poverty of our souls. Gift us, the inhabitants of this beautiful territory, the joy of celebrating the finest creations in this world.


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