VR Bengaluru inaugurated their third edition of Whitefield Art Collective, a much-awaited annual public art festival on 19, January 2018 with an engaging discussion on the importance of public art. The panel included one of the biggest names in the Indian contemporary art world, Bose Krishnamachari, artist joined by other art experts. The discussion was moderated by Sumi Gupta, Director at Virtuous Retail and curator of the festival.
As an artist, public art to me is very different from its private counterpart. It’s not just art for the wealthy or those inclined to visit museums and gallery shows, it is art for everyone. I have the chance to witness the praise, derision, censorship or defense that my work evokes in real time from the multitude of people who view my work. The public role in public art is absolutely essential to me as an artist. People enliven my work, I’m eager to see how people are inspired and intrigued, motivated and provoked.
Bangalore is now a melting pot of people, cultures and languages from across India and is as cosmopolitan as any of the world’s biggest capitals. As I couldn’t find any information on research in India on the importance of public art, I referred to some studies done in other countries and the results were intriguing indeed. Most recent studies have found that public art is instrumental in creating an attractive community. A recent American survey of 43,000 people in 43 American cities found that social offerings, openness and welcome-ness, and, importantly, the aesthetics of a place – its art, parks, and green spaces, ranked higher than education, safety, and the local economy as a driver of attachment. And, in Philadephia – a survey of local residents found that viewing public art was the 2nd most popular activity in the city, ranking above hiking and biking.
This is the second consecutive year that I’m participating in this joyous festival and I enjoy every single minute of it, even as a viewer. Last year my paintings were on display, I had great fun adjudging Bangalore’s 500+ best mini Picassos at the children’s art competition and I was commissioned to paint a large mural that is still on view. This year too I’m looking forward to my upcoming installation and of course engaging with children at the 3M Mini Me art competition scheduled for 27 & 28 January 2018. Please make sure to register at this link to participate : https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14jjyzwVLnN8-TWyfhr49PwZxOhUEPGlCEqVqWvZZt4I/viewform?ts=5a65aa8f&edit_requested=true
I’m very thankful to VR Bengaluru for nurturing art, giving a pliable platform to artists like myself and most of all for fostering a sense of beauty, pride and ownership in the community. VR has also initiated public art festivals at their Surat, Chandigarh and Chennai locations so quadruple hurray for that. In addition to all the art and installations inside, the outdoor plaza area of VR Bengaluru features an eclectic mix of temporary art installations, with an eye towards engaging eminent and emerging Indian artists in the creation of a shared public space, let’s take a look at some of my favorite fountain-front art:
Whitefield Art Collective is on from 19 January – 15 February 2018 at VR Bengaluru
Related Reading about my WAC 2017 Experience : http://sapnadube.com/art-therapy-retail-therapy-at-the-black-box/