A guild built on art

The theme, A Fine Balance, explored the intricate interplay between humans and their surroundings, emphasising climate change and sustainability.
The month-long exhibition is on at VR Chennai
The month-long exhibition is on at VR Chennai

CHENNAI: Amid the chaos of the city, Madras Art Guild, a public art festival supported by Yuj Arts Foundation, inaugurated its third edition on Friday, at VR Chennai. The month-long event encourages civic pride, strengthens the local economy, enhances the city’s national and international image, and connects the community through art. This public art festival has been happening for the last nine years across the country to encourage the community and the new artists in the field.

The festival was inaugurated by Chang-Nyun Kim, Consul-General of the Republic of Korea in India, and Miyata Kenji, Deputy Consul-General of Japan in India, in the presence of actor Siddharth and contemporary artist Trotsky Marudu.  They unveiled the ‘Kala Kar’ (a painted car). “To me, this is the first time I am attending the event. This kind of art should happen every six months. As an artist, it’s a remarkable time for you. Now there is the new pressure from the AI; in this scenario, you should keep the manual art growing, too,” said Marudu.

Going by the theme
The theme, A Fine Balance, explored the intricate interplay between humans and their surroundings, emphasising climate change and sustainability. Over 200 art installations, sculptures, paintings, and photographs from different institutions, including SRM Institute, South India Film Institute, Dessin, Da Venn, The Lasya, Kalai Sangamam, SIIHM, Global Art School, Chennai Photo Biennale, Cholamandal Artist’s Village, Australian Consulate General, Pondicherry Banner Artists, International Foundation for the Arts, Madras Art Weekend, Oh scrap! Madras and Niren Mehta, were displayed. “Our exhibition ‘Namma Kadhaigal’ features Chennai through the lens of the school students. The photographs show Chennai in its rawest form. Showcasing their work here will encourage the kids to explore photography,” said Gayatri Nair, founding trustee of Chennai Photo Biennale. The Iconic Women Project by Kadambari Misra also showcased some of her self-portraits. 

A standout feature this year is an impressive photography exhibition in collaboration with UNESCO’s New Delhi office. This exhibition, centred around UNESCO’s publication A Braided River: The Universe of Indian Women in Science, showcases captivating portraits of accomplished female scientists who have excelled in diverse scientific fields. The publication delves into the intricate challenge of gender inequality within the realm of science and technology, intending to promote gender awareness in science education and related professions, ultimately inspiring efforts to achieve a harmonious equilibrium.

Art and fashion
Sumi Gupta, curator of Madras Art Guild, said, “Our goal is to show more and more works yearly to the general public and make art accessible to everyone. The main thing is to connect with the community; everyone must see the arts. It shouldn’t only be restricted to galleries. With the theme, A Fine Balance, we are trying to balance modern and contemporary art by using sustainable resources of the earth so that the earth’s balance is not spoiled. Gender equality should also be there for a balanced, equitable society, so we kept that in mind, too.” She added, “Japan and Korea are traditionally very artistic communities and are art appreciators. So, we wanted to reach out to them. They should see what we are doing, and hopefully, in the years to come, we can collaborate with some of their artists to maybe come in and mentor our young, talented people.”

The event ended with a fashion show, Wearable Art, which added to the theme by blending traditional, modern, and ancient fashion statements from the students of NIFT and ICAD & SRM at the Skydeck. The festival gave a platform for emerging artists to foster a deep sense of attachment and respect for the city’s abundant cultural heritage. VR Chennai hopes to serve as a vibrant centre for artistic endeavours, featuring installations, exhibitions, an art bazaar, art workshops, the young artist’s programme, a literature festival, and many other thrilling events.

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The New Indian Express