Wednesday, November 05, 2008

United colours for Bihar

Source: TNN

MUMBAI: The victims of the flood in Bihar in August have found good Samaritans in 31 artists from across the country. From Atul and Anju Dodiya and Jitish Kallat to T V Santhosh and Mithu Sen, artists have donated one work each to an auction organised by Saffron Art, artist couple Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, Delhi gallery Nature Morte and the Trident in Gurgaon. Hundred per cent of the proceeds will go to NGOs that work with victims of the flood, said Saffron Art owner Dinesh Vazirani. The works will be auctioned on November 11 and 12 and those interested can visit www.saffronart.com.

The event has been put together in a lightning 20 days. Kher said that she and Gupta urgently called their friends as the condition of the flood victims is quite grim and getting worse. Stories about the global economic meltdown have eclipsed press coverage of flood relief, Vazirani pointed out. Now they have absolutely nothing, said Kher. Its the right time to do an auction. Riyas Komu, one of the contributors, added that Kher and Gupta are doing a worthy thing and that its high time the government tackles natural calamities better. It was an anticipated flood and there had been several warnings.

The even is especially significant for Gupta as he is a native of Bihar. Initially Gupta and Kher had the mad idea that they would go to Bihar themselves to see how they could help. Gupta joked that if he had carried out his plan, he wouldnt have been able to work for at least a year. Two NGOs Goonj and Samajik Shaikshanik Vikas Kendrawill disburse the funds generated by the auction. Vazirani said that a conservative estimate of the target he thinks the auction will achieve is Rs three crore. The upper estimate, he added, is Rs four crore.

The works on display are quite stunning. Bose Krishnamachari, for instance, has served up a psychadelic piece of art titled Stretched Bodies. Delhi-based duo Thukral and Tagra have offered Somnium Genero, a triptych that involves pop art colours, old-fashioned frames and a toaster. In Bharti Khers work, This Way and Never Another Way, tributaries of red, blue, black and white bindis form what looks like a mighty river. The artists have really given great works, Vazirani said. And theyre well-priced. Are the organisers worried that collectors might shy away from spending on art at a time when the global economy is in a deep trough? Gupta explains that he doesnt expect buyers to be chary as theyre not donating money. Even though theyre spending considerable amounts, theyre getting something highly valuable in return, he said. The artists, on the other hand, have donated their paintings without asking for a penny. This is a coming together of artists from India, said Vaziranis wife Minal. Theres a sense of a community. Were able to contribute to the survival of people.
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