Art Served with coffee

Various art-cafes in the city bring the curious minds and art aficionados together.
Art Served with coffee

HYDERABAD: Coffee, they say “is a language in itself”, which when relished with art exhibitions or poetry readings around becomes a scared code in itself. Over the past few years, it’s not just the breweries that have taken the city by storm but several art cafés, too, have sprung up much to the delight of both art and coffee lovers who are often and in most likelihood are separated and joined only by a hyphen. So, is it another trend that will just die out or is it there to stay? Well, the culture of art-cafés is older than you thought. Ottoman Empire during its pinnacle is known for public coffeehouses brimming with travellers, merchants, raconteurs in Istanbul, Damascus and Cairo. Persian coffeehouses are said to have come during the rule of Shah Tahmasb probably due to the reason that people could meet over discussions of intellect and discuss the same without fear.

That’s how French traveller Sir Jean Chardin reports about the coffeehouses or qahva-khanas during his visit to Persian cities: “People engage in conversation… since the government does not heed what the people say. Innocent games… resembling checkers, hopscotch, and chess, are played. In addition, mollas, dervishes, and poets take turns telling stories in verse or in prose.” [sic]. It was the trade with Ottoman Empire through which the concept of coffeehouses was brought to Europe. The first coffeehouse The Grand Café in the continent opened in Oxford, England in 1652 witnessing intellectuals, artists, poets, dramatists discuss several ideas of Enlightenment. So, that cup of piping hot coffee with a plate of iceberg-lettuce-cheese sandwich is more than just conversation especially when you see immersive theatre unfolding around, poets reading out their verses or an artist showcasing his oils and watercolours. Coffee in an art café is much more than a drink. It’s an experience that you take home. Explore the art cafés we list:

Déja Brew
It’s a cosy seating area in the State Gallery of Art with a view through glass doors. Several grand art exhibitions are inaugurated here. As you sip your coffee you witness the likes of war-photographer Reza Deghati, artist Thota Vaikuntam, expat artist Beatrice De Fays and others. With the coffee you can order sandwiches, masala Maggi and carrot cakes. Free Wi Fi helps you connected while beholding the paintings on the huge white walls of the galleries in the building.

Phoenix Arena
A new cultural space in Hi-Tec City with lush green trees, floral shrubs and intricate architecture has a beautiful cafetaria complete with a library and an art gallery. In the huge open stage area built on green lawns one can not just enjoy the plays, book launches, workshops, readings or discussions but also munch on slated peanuts, pakodas, chakolis and salted wafers over a cup of coffee or a glass of juice.

The Gallery Café
Adjacent to Kalakriti Art Gallery, the cafe hosts shows by artists, poetry readings, book launches, music performances, discussions and more. The wooden interiors are decorated with art works by various artists. You can attend these events as you sip your Turkish coffee or bite into Bombay Sandwich or dig into that plate of green goddess salad.

Lamakaan
It is an eight-year-old open cultural space which has seen several plays, art exhibitions, photography shows, documentary screenings, book launches, discussions, seminars, workshops and more in an outdoor stage area and a hall with seating arrangements with free Wi Fi. It’s more than just a cultural space, it is a place of free expression as well. That’s how exhibitions like ‘Gaza 51: a Place Called Home’ showcasing the art works by Palestinian artists drew a lot of visitors. Rana Ayyub’s book launch ‘Gujarat Files’ and the solidarity meets for Rohith Vemula saw the open space choc-a-bloc. People enjoy plays based on Premchand’s stories over glasses of tea/coffee and plates of samosas.

Le Café,Novotel
Well, this star hotel is known for its art events that see the creme of the city as the exhibitions by various artists begin. The paintings are displayed in the lobby area adjacent to which is Le Café where you can relish pastries and sandwiches over a cup of piping hot coffee.

Beyond Coffee
Located near Jubilee Hills check post, this cafe often hosts art shows and handloom exhibitions. Recently, ‘Anantham’, a solo exhibition by artist Srinivas Babu Adepu was held. What’s more you can drink the coffee by your favourite artists’ names such as Dali’s Delight, Gauguin’s Island or Rodin’s drinker. Well you even have coffees named with Degas and Whiteley.

saima@newindianexpress@Sfreen

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