Hotel lobby turns into art gallery

Hotel lobby turns into art gallery

A hotelier in the city has transformed the lobby of his hotel into an art gallery to promote paintings, especially Mysuru style paintings, which are on the verge of extinction.

A S Somesh, managing partner of The Hillside Hotel, an apartment hotel and food court, has opened up his lobby to display paintings, mostly Mysuru style paintings. Basically a farmer, despite being an MA graduate in History, Somesh has been an entrepreneur.

A native of Aralaguppe village in K R Pet taluk of Mandya district, he started the hotel on the Chamundi Hill Road, in JC Nagar, three-years-ago.

The hotel is just a hundred yards from the foot of Chamundi Hill.

Somesh said, Vittal Rao, an artist himself and an arts collector, is looking after the art gallery. “Ours is an apartment hotel with 11 3BHK and 2BHK suites, having a total of 27 room, which can accommodate 60 guests. We have a food court, with separate vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants. Most of the tourists, who come to Mysuru, visit the Chamundi Hill. There are a couple of private museums, including the Sand Sculpture Museum and Sea Shell Art Museum, in the vicinity. We opened the gallery a fortnight ago, hoping that the lobby space can be put to good use to promote and popularise the Mysuru style paintings. It will also help the artists find art connoisseurs, who can patronise the art form,” he said.

“My son A S Darshan, who has done his MS in Construction Technology and Management from the United Kingdom, is supporting me in all my endeavours. Through the art gallery, we are promoting the paintings of Srihari of T Narsipur and Ramakrishna and Dinesh of Mysuru. Besides, we are also promoting romantic art, by displaying the reproduction of the paintings of Raja Ravivarma by Anil Kumar of Kerala. We hope to promote more artists in future,” said Somesh.

Vittal Rao said he is also an artist but has been an art collector and exhibitor since 30 years. “I used to hold art exhibitions in cities like Mumbai and Hyderabad. When I got an opportunity to promote the Mysuru style of paintings in the place of its origin, I grabbed it. Mysuru art has evolved from the Vijayanagara style of art, which later gave birth to the Tanjore style of art. Mysuru art is the advanced form of Tanjore art. The Mysuru art is more intricate and detailed, compared to Tanjore art. Besides, in Mysuru art, gold is used for the paintings, to make them realistic. The use of gold also gives a long life to the paintings,” he said.

“There are not many artists of the Mysuru style of painting. There are no schools or institutions, imparting the style of art. Most of the artists have inherited the art form from their ancestors. The tradition is handed over to the next generations, but young artists do not show much interest in imbibing the ‘noble’ art. If the art attracts more connoisseurs and patrons, it may survive for the future generations,” he said.

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