Economic slowdown in India affects artist community too

Written by PTI | Jamshedpur | Updated: Feb 25 2013, 21:48pm hrs
The economic slowdown being witnessed in the country has left artists of contemporary art affected forcing them to take up side jobs to make ends meet.

Contemporary artists witnessed a boom in the 2000-2007, but thereafter as the market shrank many of their work remained unsold, National Award winner Aditya Basak said.

Indian painters had started making their presence felt world-wide after commercial galleries came up in the 1980s, but the good days lasted till mid-2000, Basak, based in Kolkata, said.

Basak had won several awards including National Award in 1986 and West Bengal state Academy award in 1987. He has held more than 76 solo exhibitions in India and France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, USA and Singapore since 1957.

He, alongwith a host of renowned painters from across the country, was here to take part in a four-day 'Art in Industry Camp-2013' organised by Tata Steel at the Centre for Excellence last week.

Around 20 painters, some of them internationally known, took part in the camp.

Reputed Delhi-based artist Vijender Sharma, however, said the economic meltdown was a 'temporary phenomenon' and that the market would look up sooner than later.

Terming the economic scenario as 'cyclic', Sharma said, "I hope the market for 'genuine' artists will emerge stronger as they have learned to face the challenge and accordingly adapt themselves."

A gold medalist from the College of Art, New Delhi, Sharma, who had the honour of presenting a life-size portrait of former President APJ Abdul Kalam to Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2007, though stating there was no impact on hard-working artists urged big industries to support talented ones facing hardship.

"Both art and industry will grow if they work in tandem," Sharma said, regretting that the government had not taken any step to promote the artist fraternity.

He demanded that the government take steps to exempt art work and artists from the tax net.

Striking a different note, another renowned artist Dhiraj Choudhury said that commercialisation has ruined the taste for art.

"Art has been reduced to decorative pieces hanging from the wall of drawings room in rich homes," he said.

Choudhury, who has exhibited his work in the country and abroad, said, "The rich has lost its sensibility and value the hard work of the artists more as decorative pieces to adorn the walls than something to be appreciated."