Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Artists and Their Efforts to Reach Out

Every day I get mails from so many young artists working from different parts of India. I open my gmail inbox with a smile on my face because I see new people connecting with me through their works. I am excited to see their works. They are all trying their level best to stick out in the crowd. Some artists want me to say an opinion about their works. Some people ask me to see their works and see whether I could do something for them. Yet another lot asks me quite boldly whether I am interested to 'curate' their works. I feel so humble when I see all these requests and demands. I can imagine these artists, fresh from their colleges or with some kind of work experience as freelance artists, sitting in their studios, thinking, listening to soft music, speaking to their friends over phones, keeping some books of their liking half read, sipping black coffee or tea, brooding over their uncertain future, melancholically thinking about a show that they had seen a few days back, feeling disgust about the hypocrisy that they confronted in an exhibition opening in the previous evening, thinking about a lover or beloved, checking emails eagerly to see whether some gallery or some 'so-called-imporant' people like me have responded to their mails or not etc. I feel one with them for I too have spent time like that, not as an artist, but as a budding writer, waiting for a call from some newspaper or magazine office.
At times I feel sad as many of these artists are not able to make it in the market and find a decent life out of their art. Some are good and some are bad. This good-bad dichotomy is totally temporal and opinion specific as none can judge an artist's works absolutely. Of course one can talk about the strength of drawing, use of colours, imagination in conjuring up installations, rearranging objects etc. One can talk about the depth of their concepts or the shallowness of it. But everything is based on the opinion created by the market players. I feel sad because many of the market players really do not see most of the works of art created by these people. None cares about their angst and waiting. Today morning a friend of mine, now a famous artist, was talking to me about the Artists Pension Fund. When this artist was struggling none cared about his welfare. But now as he is doing well in the market, these people are asking him to join pension fund. I like the answer that he gave to the pension fund organizers. He told them: My works come out of my insecurity about life. I reassure about my life through looking at my insecurities and negotiating them.My art is all about that. You are asking me to cover up my insecurities including that of economy. What will I do, if I dont have my insecurities? Wouldnt my art be dead then? Wouldnt I cease to be an artist? I dont want to convert my art into finance capital though the market is aggressively doing it. I use money for making art and to understand my insecurities about life. Then he told me, when he was a struggler, he went to one of the gallerists who is now one of the directors of this pension fund scheme, he refused to see his works even. Now as he is successful, the very same gallery has suggested his name for including in pension fund.
The young artists who are sitting and working even in the remote corners of India are not looking for their names to be included in artist pension fund. They just want their works to be seen by people. They need to gain some confidence through appreciation. They just need to feel good about their life through exposing their works to a larger public. Then of course, they all need money. To live a decent life one needs money. An artist's product is a work of art and as he/she is not doing any other job than making works of art, there should be a system that supports these artists in someway. It could be through giving them shows, selling their works, or through giving them adequate funds to live and continue with their works. Our soceity has not woken up to this fact of supporting the struggling artists in someway. It is pertinent now as we have totally imbalanced art market. In this art market, the rich gets richer and the poor remains poor till some angelic touch of a curator or gallerist falls on them. Those artists who have relocated themselves to the cities and art centr have become successful in finding some patrons there. But what about those artists who live and work in the remote areas. I cannot say that they are not serious about their arts and they dont want to come out to struggle in the big cities. They are serious about their art but they have their own reasons to be there in their own locations. As internet has broken down the temporal distance, they think that their works circulated through the blogs, emails and other internet sources would finally give them the required visibility and success. I also think that one day it would help them.
What I think at this junture is to post some of the images of the works of these artists (of course of my liking) on regular basis with a comment from me, or without a comment. Just give a few hints about their works and their location and their email id etc. If someone who is influential and is following my blog could become a patron, you never know. I would like to give it a try.

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