In a candid online video, artist and scholar of comparative mythology, Vidya Kamat lets us in on a small vignette from her life. "Honestly, I never set out to become an artist," she confesses. "I became an artist as an act of rebellion. After the 10th boards (I had scored very high marks), and everyone in the family knew what I would be, except me… so, I decided to take up fine arts, only because I wanted control over my own decisions." The artist goes on to speak about her art, and what spurs her creation, in the short nine-minute video.
Artist Vidya Kamat seen in conversation in an introduction video. V-IDEO currently offers six short videos on each artist
Kamat is among four other Mumbai-based artists — Gieve Patel, Sudhir Patwardhan, Jahangir Jani and Dhruvi Acharya — who have shared their stories for a new online art space called 'V-IDEO: Ideas Worth Sharing' (www.v-ideo.in).
The project, launched this week is an innovative online platform, documenting and examining ideas and works of artists from across India. The space provides five to 10-minute videos on artists, critics, and other members of the Indian art world. "Much of the existing information about the art world is geared to the art market and not to art's utopian impulses. We offer the latter perspective through insight from artists, critics, and others because there is no single answer to the question of why art is important and what it can contribute to the world. At the very least, we want our subscribers to see the world with fresh eyes," says New York-based Dr Prashant Parikh, founder. Parikh does research in philosophy, linguistic, and artificial intelligence and writes on the theory of art.
V-IDEO currently offers six short videos on each artist that can be seen on any suitable device.
Each video deals with a different topic — artist’s introduction, horizon of interests, a single artwork, context and community, art and ideas, and art and the world — and each topic is addressed through two or three questions.
"These topics and questions enable the artist to engage with the wider world through his or her art. In addition, every artist answers the same questions and this allows the creation of an archive, letting viewers compare and contrast the answers of different artists to the same questions. This process, in turn, leads to freeing up the viewer’s mind to come up with his or her own answers and to discuss them with other viewers, making the whole significantly more than the sum of its parts," adds Parikh.
At the moment, the platform has roped in a small mix of young and old artists from the city, but it will soon expand to other cities. Registration on the website is simple and quick. Registered members have free access to the first introduction video of every artist. For the rest of the videos, viewers need to pay an annual fee of Rs 3000, while institutions pay Rs 12,000.
"We hope the project challenges artists, critics, and others to reflect further and also to articulate their deeper thoughts about art and the world," adds Parikh.