Heart in the arts

Written by Garima Pant | Updated: Mar 9 2009, 05:01am hrs
Indian art is the mirror of Indian feminity, a statement that portrays the present position of the fairer sex in this field. Women entrepreneurs in the field of art have come a long way since the days when art galleries were gifted to them by their well-established better halves as anniversary or birthday presents to pursue some hobby or to channel their creativity in the right direction. Now, its the economics of art that is driving their passion. And they are doing well too. The list of women art entrepreneurs is long: Tina Ambani and Avanti Birla are associated with their respective art galleries in Mumbai, Harmony and Articulate; Bhavna Kakar of Art Konsult, Delhi; Ambika Beri of Gallery Sanskriti in Kolkata and Delhi among many others. Art comes naturally to women, making it a perfect profession for them. But for people to put their trust in women, especially in financial matters, is difficult, says Bhavna Kakar, Curator, Art Konsult. And here begins the struggle. You have to prove yourself consistently. Not even a single day passes when youre not put through the acid test. Even for an artist it takes time to trust you. But with time you tend to overcome these obstacles, adds Kakar.

For Sharan Apparao, Proprietor, Apparao Galleries in Chennai, there is more to art than just commerce. Being in the field of art is enjoyable. But some part of any business is hard being a woman, says Apparao, who believes that being a woman in the art world opens up many areas quite easily, especially in India. But the initial hardships just strengthened her resolve of not to give up her passion. I lacked capital, a formal training in business and a lack of structure in this business, which made it difficult initially. I had to practically reinvent the wheel for myself, shares Apparao. Sunaina Anand. Director, Art Alive Gallery, admits that the initial struggles are common in all kinds of business. Beginnings are never easy. You have certain ideas and dreams, but the ground reality is different. But I was lucky enough not to face any obstacles due to my gender, says Anand.

Having well-defined goals help in making the business successful, is the common opinion among these growing gallery owners. Anand had a clear idea of the sourcing of artists and the kind of shows and events that she wanted. Making profit was an aim but not the only goal. I also began with my publications division simultaneously as documentation is of equal importance too. So, for me, it wasnt just a commercial interest, says Anand. For both Apparao and Kakar, belonging to a certain social strata makes a lot of difference and helps one grow. But this is only in the initial stages, after that it is your work that speaks for you. If you are focused and good at your work, people in the field are drawn to you, believes Apparao. So, kudos to beauty, balance and brains at work.