With its inception in 2011, 'Art Bengaluru', the city's first ever and only 10-day art festival brought about a new dimension to the art landscape in Bengaluru.
For a city which had never really been known for art, the birth of this annual art soiree not just created a niche for Bengaluru on the national art map, but it also grew to become one of the most loved and anticipated art festivals in the city.
One of its biggest highlights was the fact that it is held in The Collection, UB City - one of the most popular destinations in the heart of Bangalore. For 10 days, anyone can enter the festival for free and view spectacular works of art across a diverse spectrum of mediums and styles, displayed with museum-class display infrastructure under one roof.
The 2018 edition of Art Bengaluru celebrates Indian artists by bringing together 17 of the country's best artists and over 200 artworks across 24 exhibits. With workshops, curated art walks, art installations and larger than life sized works of art all across The Collection, UB City, this is indeed a sensory treat for all Bengalureans.
The artworks range from photography, photo media, mixed media artworks, oil paintings, acrylics, pen and ink drawings, sculptures (from wood, steel and paper) and video projects. One of the highlights of the festival is a 30' by 8' oil on canvas by Saju Kunhan that, despite being created in 2011, has never been previously exhibited due to a lack of a large enough exhibition space. Inspired by Saju's first experience of a "mega city" - Mumbai - the detail and scale of the work is mesmerising and should not be missed. The artworks range from Rs. 13,400 - Rs. 65L.
Moreover, by hosting it at The Collection, UB City, Art Bengaluru aims to create art awareness for the masses as the artworks have been put up throughout the mall and hence, is not targeted only at art lovers coming in specifically to see the art. It is targeted at everyone entering UB City - to inspire curiosity within them for the beautiful works around. With curated art walks, the festival also aims to contribute to art education among both children and adults. Art Bengaluru 2018 has partnered with several schools (Parikrma Centre of Learning, Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology and Dr. Beltran's Animation School, to name a few) to take their students through curated walks to help them better understand and appreciate the arts.
"We are a society in the grip of epidemics of anxiety, obesity and depression. In such a scenario, we need to find alternate avenues to relieve our stress and find moments of happiness in the smaller day to day things around us. One such avenue is art appreciation. Recent studies have shown that art appreciation promotes quality of life and makes one feel good. When you look at a beautiful piece of artwork, it releases dopamine in the brain that incites feelings of pleasure while significantly bringing down stress levels. The language of art, as expressed through sounds, colours, shapes, lines, and images, speaks in ways that words cannot. Whether you experience the arts as a creator / artist or as an art lover, you can gain great pleasure and enjoyment from all kinds of art," said Uzma Irfan - Conceptualizer / Organiser, Art Bengaluru & Director, Prestige Group.
"It therefore gives me great pleasure to present the 8th Edition of Art Bengaluru. We welcome each and every one of you to come and enjoy the myriad offerings of the festival," she added.
"While the last decade has seen some positive development on this front, we are still a way away from meaningfully bringing art to the masses and creating a society that is aware of, and takes pride in, the art and artists of their country. Art Bengaluru's aim has always been to aid in the Bangalorean front of that fight by bringing a selection of works from a diverse set of artists to UB City, thus bringing a much-needed injection of art to the city, along with a wonderfully disarming onslaught of emotion, insight, perspective and reflection that is unique to an enriching art experience," said Abhishek Naidu - Curator, Art Bengaluru 2018.
The Opening Night witnessed Bengaluru's art lovers gathering at the beautiful UB City to interact with the artists and view the various exhibits on display. Apart from the art, the audience was left enthralled with mesmerizing performances over the course of the evening by The Flying Drummers, Madpoi, Aman Mahajan, Nush Lewis and Raman Iyer.
Artists at 'Art Bengaluru 2018'
Ashish Dubey (Indore), Ashu Gupta (Bengaluru), Balan Nambiar (Bengaluru), Chandan Bhowmick (Kolkata), D Venkatapathy (Chennai), Devangana Kumar (New Delhi), Ganesh Selvaraj (Chennai), Gurudas Shenoy (Bengaluru), Kavita Jaiswal (Gurgaon), Pallon Daruwala (Bengaluru), Parvathi Nayar (Chennai), Rohaan Sulaiman (Bengaluru), Romicon Revola (Bengaluru), S Ravi Shankar (Chennai), Saju Kunhan (Mumbai), Vipta Kapadia (Mumbai) and Yuvan Bothysathavur (Chennai).
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