Reviving the art of haydays

Art never dies, neither do the artists.

author_img Anu Kuruvilla Published :  23rd March 2022 01:17 PM   |   Published :   |  23rd March 2022 01:17 PM
Ente Bhoomi art exhibition

Ente Bhoomi art exhibition

Art never dies, neither do the artists. The Kerala Chithrakala Parishath, an organisation of over 700 artists founded in 1961 is proving this point all over again. After a lull of 15 years, the parishath has organised an exhibition showcasing art by 70 of its members. The exhibition Ente Bhoomi’ is at a workshop being held at Pepper House in Fort Kochi.

“The parishath was very vibrant during its early days. It was registered as a society in 1961 with its headquarters in Thrissur. It has units in 13 districts and nearly 700 active practising artists,” said Cyril Jacob, state president, Kerala Chithrakala Parishath. However, the collective, that precedes the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, slowly lost its steam due to a financial crunch. 

“The collective was supported only by the artists, not the state government or any NGO like the  Akademi. The parishath’s activities came to a complete standstill in 2005, after it failed to shell out the fund needed to conduct workshops and exhibitions. However, in 2019, the members decided to revive it,” said Cyril.

But soon after, the pandemic broke out and all their efforts were in vain. “Many artists were left struggling financially during the pandemic. Creative works took a back seat during the time,” he added. So, the collective decided to come up with initiatives that would help struggling artists. “We held a workshop titled ‘Ente Bhoomi, where 70 member artists took part. It was the largest offline workshop to be held after Covid restrictions were lifted,” said Cyril. The paintings displayed at the ongoing exhibition are for sale. Fifty per cent of the proceeds will be handed over to the artists while the rest will be used to meet the exhibition expenses. “Whatever is left after that, will be distributed among the artists,” he added.

Cyril added that a majority of the artists whose works are on display are not financially sound. “They are artists who are yet to be known to the mainstream art world,” said Cyril. Ajay S Sekhar, an art critic and artist, said the theme of the exhibition is Earth. “Nature and the crises caused by human intervention and unbridled exploitation of resources feature prominently in the frames,” he said. “They throw light on the need for a sensitive and kind world. Every aspect of the human-nature interface is depicted with artful dexterity,” he added.