Artist and curator Priyanka Banerjee’s ongoing show ‘Panorama 11’ at Vivanta by Taj, Dwarka, Delhi, is witnessing participation by over 15 artists. In a candid chat with Medha Dutta, the curator talks about her journey and her inspirations.
From being an artist to a curator—how has the journey been?
Being an art curator is a multi-dimensional experience. One, it means to preserve and safeguard artistic heritage. Second, it gives an opportunity to select new forms of art, tracing its genesis back to its original form. It also entails taking viewers through a time-machine, digging into the past and telling them about extinct art forms. Third, it involves displaying and arranging art, while keeping the emphasis on maintaining the originality of the form. Fourth, an exhibition becomes interesting if it involves socially relevant themes.
Over the course of my career, I have been lucky to be associated with established people who encourage artists. The goal of the curatorial discipline is to correctly present visual art to an identified audience. India is a developing nation and there is a lot of scope to change the popular mindset towards art and culture. In these fast-paced times, where people do not have much time to appreciate art and culture, I am privileged to be connected to the art world. My aim is to bring forward the rich creative legacies of our forefathers and eminent artists. My exhibitions always revolve around themes of social relevance.
Did you always want to be an artist?
Yes. Art is my calling. Let me add here that,
being a curator has not dampened my artistic spirit. I love to
collaborate with upcoming artists and showcase their works. The level of satisfaction this endeavour brings is intense. I live by art and my artistic and curatorial works are a humble attempt to bring art closer to human lives, washing away the dust from their souls.
Who are the artists that have motivated you?
Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, and Raja Ravi Varma have always inspired me. What draws me to them is the fact that despite immense success, they were epitomes of simplicity. They had the courage to break away from the influence of western traditions and blend in Indian art’s facets into their signature styles. These artists remained rooted to Indian culture and have left an indelible mark in the history of Indian art.
What is your favourite medium to work in?
As a curator, I feel each medium has its unique characteristics. Though, watercolour and soft pastels are the two mediums with many possibilities. On the other hand, acrylic provides a lot of scope for correction. It is one of the mediums that is in vogue.
How did you zero in on these particular artists for the show?
I have been curating shows for the past eight years. What I have gained over these years is the strong association that I share with members of the art fraternity. I try to inspire them and give upcoming artists a foothold to display their talent to
What should be the aim of art?
Artists should give art a fresh interpretation and in the process make paradigm shifts in their genres. Moreover, the aim of art is for viewers to be educated in its history and instil a sense of pride in our rich cultural heritage.
Does India’s modern art scene look promising to you?
Sadly, most art schools and colleges are more like commercial institutions than creative spaces. No longer are they interested in promoting Indian art. They have structured and stylised syllabi so as to stimulate eclecticism. They should place more empghasis on Indian artistic traditions, which are being lost due to lack of support and appreciation.