Nobody wanted to come to Navi Mumbai for an art exhibition,” says artist and co-organiser of the first-ever Navi Mumbai Art Festival, Gautam Patole. “Then, last year, we visited the Urban Haat — a permanent fair for crafts, food and cultural activities by CIDCO. That’s when we decided to host the five-day festival here and change the situation,” he says.
And no, this is not a festival for the art connoisseurs alone. “It is a big weekend and we want visitors to enjoy every moment of the art festival. We have organised live demonstrations, dance and music performances and seminars (see box),” says Achyut Palav, another co-organiser and artist.
This being the first year for the event at Navi Mumbai, many requests were turned down by artists, citing date and time issues or when they were told the festival was in Belapur. “However, in the end we have a great line up of 200 artistes. We have calendar works from a bygone era, and even the original works of artists SM Pandit and S Mulgaonlkar. Some artists will paint on the spot and conduct live demonstrations,” says Patole, adding that the largest work of art at the event is a 40-feet-high puppet.
The festival will also see Terra Cotta works of sculptor Ram Kumar Manna, artist Pradip Shinde’s Crow Series and miniature paper art by Rajan Gole. The works are priced between Rs 500 and Rs 1.5 lakh. But the organisers do not intend to make a profit from the event. “We will donate 50 per cent of the proceedings to an acid attack victim from Navi Mumbai,” says Patole.
What’s in store
Live Installations include Achyut Palav’s calligraphy work on Umbrellas, Bangalore-based artist’s Ilyas Amad work using scrap metal, Artist Vandana Suri’s 40 ft Kathputli. Workshops include stone carving, sand art, bangle art, pottery making, wood carving, wheel pottery. Tribal Section will see Banjara artistes from Gadchiroli village from Maharashtra, artisans from Bhuj, Madhubani paintings by tribals of Bihar.