17th Chitra Santhe had variety; buyers found it dear

17th Chitra Santhe had variety; buyers found it dear

A 3D painting by artist Jai Ganesh depicting children playing Holi was one of the star attractions at the Chitra Santhe on Sunday. The painting was priced at Rs 2lakh. DH photo/S K Dinesh

The 17th edition of the Chitra Santhe — Bengaluru’s popular art festival — ended on a grand note on Sunday.

More than 1,600 artists from 18 states showcased their works across several fine art disciplines, enthralling thousands who gathered at the Kumara Krupa Road stretching from Shivananda Circle to Windsor Manor Circle.

Besides displaying portraits, life-size and 3D canvasses across the one-kilometre stretch, many also sketched on-the-spot portraits of children and couples, delighting several visitors.

Right from water colours to traditional forms, acrylic to 3D digital, artists set up several stalls, luring hundreds of visitors throughout the day. Earlier, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa inaugurated the event, themed around the ‘life of a farmer’.

Budgetary allocation

Introducing the 17th edition of Chitra Santhe, Chitrakala Parishat chairperson B L Shankar urged the chief minister to consider promoting Bengaluru’s popular art festival at the international level on the lines of the Dasara celebrations. In response, Yediyurappa said: “Considering the request made by the CKP chairperson, we will allocate Rs 1 crore in the upcoming budget to hold and popularise Chitra Santhe. The state government will extend all possible support to make the event a grand success in the coming days.”

Flood of artists

Though the 17th edition lacked variety and affordable paintings for the art lovers, the day-long event had possibly the widest representation of artists. By their own admission, many were vying to get the stalls.

“We were told that nearly 2,500 artists applied to participate in the Chitra Santhe, but only 1,600 were given a chance due to lack of space. Arrangements have been impressive at an affordable cost,” said an artist from Tamil Nadu.  

The santhe also had several art curators with unique stalls focusing on traditional art forms. One particular stall showcasing the Gond tribal paintings from Madhya Pradesh evinced interest among many.

Madhubani paintings displayed by city artists lured large crowds, prompting inquiries about coaching classes in the art form.

Large crowds also flocked five to six stalls showing Pattachitra — a traditional, cloth-based scroll painting from Odisha and West Bengal. Works based on folklore, the legends of Radha and Krishna and Ramayana were in great demand among the visitors. A couple of artists also gave Patua Sangeet performances, weaving a story around the paintings.

Also sought after were paintings on leather canvasses, leather puppets and lamp shades of the Rayalaseema region.

Strain on the pockets

Visitors felt that the paintings on display at the fair were expensive. Unlike the previous years when they could pick up works from as low as Rs 100, several small paintings on display at Sunday’s expo had price tags upwards of Rs 500. Paintings with intricate creative works, on the other hand, were worth several lakhs of rupees. On an average, paintings cost between Rs 2,000 and Rs 10,000.

Many artists were open to bargained prices, offering discounts up to Rs 2,000.

Famous works

Gokulam Vijay, a reputed artist from Coimbatore, lured everyone’s attention with the display of his Rs 12 lakh worth portrait of a Tamil Nadu temple street. Vijay had displayed the same painting during last year’s fair as well.

The painting of tiger cubs worth Rs 7 lakh by Ramanjini also caught the visitors’ attention. A 3D painting by artist Jai Ganesh depicting children playing Holi, with Rs 2 lakh price tag, was also widely appreciated.

No digital payments

Artists refused digital payments and wanted buyers to pay in cash, making life difficult for connoisseurs. With no choice, buyers queued up before ATM kiosks to withdraw cash for the paintings they were buying.  

“Artists refused Google Pay, Paytm or PhonePe. I had to stand in queue for close to 45 minutes to withdraw money. If the organisers had created awareness on digital payments, it would’ve been convenient for many to buy the works,” said Milind Rathore, an art lover.

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