No shutdown for art

Updated: Apr 15, 2020, 09:39 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

An arts institution is inviting artists to submit work that captures their personal experience with the lockdown for a chance to be featured in an exhibition in the city later this year

Akshay Jose and Shad Fatima for the open call
Akshay Jose and Shad Fatima for the open call

Today, on World Art Day, if you look up Art and Charlie's Instagram page, you will know that art, unlike other things, is not under lockdown. Every year, April 15 is commemorated as the birth anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci and celebrates the diversity of artistic expression. Galleries might be shut but Art and Charlie, a city-based institution that works with artists and curators to engage with individuals and institutions has put out an open call inviting artists to submit works that capture their personal experiences with the ongoing situation. And not only will every entry be featured on their social media page, the best one will be part of a larger exhibition to be organised later this year.

Artworks submitted by Praveen Maripelly
Artworks submitted by Praveen Maripelly

Hailing from a business background, founder Ayesha Parikh, 33, always wanted to venture into the art world and pursued a course with the auction house Sotheby's. The Bandra resident finally launched the institution last summer and has worked with galleries in Delhi, Mumbai and Sri Lanka so far. For artists, this period, she says, facilitates the channelling of creative energy. "This [solitary] time isn't something they are not used to. Also, contemporary art is all about emotions — the bigger the realisations, the bigger the epiphanies. For instance, staying at home entails an adjustment in family dynamics; you could feel trapped and the emotions are heightened," she explains.

No shutdown for art

After the open call was posted a week ago, the team has already received 30 entries, from cities across India, including Mumbai. The last date for submission is April 20. Elaborating on what makes for an ideal entry, Parikh says, "Any medium works but it should be able to bring out not only skill but a relatable, unconscious feeling." One can also view some of the submissions on the IG page. This includes, Shad Fatima's piece which depicts a naked woman sitting cross-legged with a mask and glasses. "It shows how despite protection, we are all vulnerable," shares Parikh.

Ayesha Parikh
Ayesha Parikh

The team of three hopes to pull off the exhibition, their first-ever, in October. It will be a three-day event that is about the vulnerable parts of our society — minority communities or the environment. "We think we understand this subject but the more we talk to people, we realise our biases. The event will showcase how we, as humans, psychologically have a tendency to maintain a distance from something that is not convenient to us and because of that, form biases," Parikh reveals, adding that it will also serve as fertile ground for emerging artists to engage with the established names. The main aim will be to involve people in discussion. Straying away from the elitist notion of a closed-door exhibition, a plan for food experiences, workshops by artists and an auction is on
the cards.

Email team@artandcharlie.com by April 20 to submit your work

It's a date

World Art Day was first celebrated in 2012 after a proposal was put forward at the International Association of Art's 17th general assembly in Mexico. Leonardo da Vinci's birth date was chosen as a symbol of brotherhood, tolerance and multiculturalism.

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