Chennai to host Madras Art Weekend, a three-day long celebration of art – The Hindu

Chennai News

Madras is not alien to the arts. While one would traditionally associate the city’s sensibilities to the classical performing arts, the role it plays in the country’s visual art culture is seminal — be it the legacy of the Madras Art Movement, Cholamandal Artist’s Village, or the influential Government College of Fine Arts.

But a movement fitting to the city’s position in the art world and market, among the community is yet to be realised.

The maiden edition of Madras Art Weekend (MAW), by city-based The International Foundation for the Arts, hopes to kickstart this conversation.

With curated walkthroughs, exhibitions, panel discussions and a workshop, Madras Art Weekend hopes to create a healthy ecosystem for the art fraternity: be it through a showcase of works by Madras Masters or a panel discussion on the intersection of art and design. 

An artwork by Suresh Kumar that will be on display

This weekend has been in the making for at least two years. Two years that entailed getting people on board, going for other such weekends across cities, and getting different ideas and perspectives.

“I feel like our artists don’t get representation across the board, especially in other cities and even in India Art Fair,” says Upasana.

While cities like Mumbai are familiar with gallery weekends and art walks, Chennai is still novel to this idea. Upasana explains, “We didn’t want to specifically call this a gallery weekend. It’s more of an art weekend with interaction with the arts. We wanted to be more generic towards art and artists in the city.” 

A photograph by Ami Gupta that will be on display
| Photo Credit: Ami Gupta

The event opens with a group show called Perspectives at Gallery Veda. It features emerging and established city artists curated by Upasana and Prabhu .

“It’s called Perspectives because we did not want them to be stuck in a genre that is not their own. The show will shine a spotlight on the artists’ original creative expression, be it surrealism, abstraction or portraiture,” she adds. Gurunathan Govindan, Parvathy Nayar, Yuvaraj Velu, Amar Ramesh, Narayan Lakshman, Madhavy Raj are some of the artists who will display their work across mediums. On the same day, a walkthrough at Crowne Plaza will open doors to understanding the works of Madras Masters curated by Sarala’s Art Centre. 

An interesting panel presided by Komal Sharma, editor of Architectural Digest India, interior designer Vinita Chaitanya, and multidisciplinary artist Ayushman Mitra of Bobo Calcutta, Jequline Heethy, Cultural Attachée, Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany and design curator Kamna Mallik, will look at the intersection of art in the world of design.

“On the following day, in a collaborative event with the Kindness Foundation, we will showcase ‘kindness’ through a lens-based medium. And, at a parallel event in Amethyst, Ayushman Mitra’s collections and art, along with installations will be unveiled,” says Upasana.

“The evening after, a panel discussion at Ashvita’s Gallery will address the programming of galleries and the artists they represent. We have Bhavna Kakar from Delhi-based Latitude 28 coming in, Atyaan Jungalwala of Chemould Prescott Bombay and Sanjay Kumar of Sakshi Art Gallery, as part of this panel.”    

An artwork by Vijayalakshmi Veerappan that will be on display

On Day 3, at a panel that includes collector and artist Vir Kotak, art activist and founder of Mumbai-based Misaal, Rouble Nagi, collector and patron of the Madras Art Movement, Sanjay Tulsyan, and collectors Jaiveer Johal and Mithun Sancheti, will discuss the collaborative potential of collectors and the role of public community art.

“Rouble Nagi has adopted 3,500 slums across India and changed the faces of these slums through murals. She will unveil her book titled The Slum Queen at the session,” says the curator. An exhibition that celebrates the luminosity of glass, by artists from across the country, will be hosted by InKo Centre, titled Tempered-Poetry in Glass.  Interspersed between the displays and discussion will be a cast-making workshop by artist Joyston Vaz from 2pm to 5pm at InKo Centre (priced at ₹2000).

An artwork by Narayan Lakshman that will be on display

The programming, Upasana says, was done in such a way that young artists are given representation and a deserving platform. Even during the ideation stage, the interest shown by city galleries, cultural centres and consulates has been overwhelming. “The whole city has opened its doors to us. The ownership of Madras Art Weekend is truly to the people of Madras,” she concludes. 

MAW is on from November 11 to 13. For details, call 9952024400.