When was the last time you went to an art gallery? The painter Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Yet, not many even get an opportunity to see — and appreciate — art in galleries or partake in conversations about art.
In Chennai, a new Wall of Celebration hopes to democratise art by transforming public spaces into pop-up art galleries.
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The public art project is due to be launched on February 14 and is the initiative of Splatter Studio, a Chennai-based art studio. K. Senthil Ram,the gallery’s owner, says, “We never wanted to be a conventional art gallery—we encourage different forms of art and want everyone to enjoy it. Wall of Celebration is an extension of our mission. It was, in fact, my wife Sruthi who suggested the idea a long time ago, and we have built on it.”
The first wall of celebration will be launched at That Madras Place, a restaurant in Chennai’s Adyar neighbourhood where Splatter Studio is also located. The display will be up for two weeks. Senthil hopes to expand the project to other restaurants, hotels and resorts, and even parks and airports. “We also hope to set up the project in other cities in the long run.”
“I commonly hear people say that they either can’t afford art, or understand it,” says Senthil. “It’s a challenge, not just for me but all gallery owners. The only way to break these notions is through education. We curate our art to make it possible for everyone to appreciate. One can certainly appreciate the colours and compositions and that’s a gateway into understanding it better.”
Pricing is also a concern for Senthil. “Art isn’t always expensive. We want to encourage people to invest in art intelligently — our paintings are available at a fraction of the cost, it supports young artists, and some of these artists may go on to be big names.”
India has a long way to go, says Senthil, when it comes to supporting and encouraging young artists. Proper infrastructure and a robust education system are the need of the hour.
The Wall of Celebration aims to be a platform for young artists and to encourage the public as well. The initiative is open to all artist or photographers who can apply to have their work displayed. Senthil hopes that more spaces will be open to hosting such exhibitions and established artists will gradually step up.