A maze of colours meets the eye at the Acropolis Building on Dr Radhakrishnan Salai. Against the earthen background, the maze, with an impressive mix of both contemporary and traditional works of art, stands out in the otherwise grey ground floor. Some new paintings by upcoming artists immediately catch my attention for their rebellious use of colour and concepts: Be it Manisha Parekh’s work with knots jutting out from a black background, representing hair follicles on a head, or colourful chairs stacked up in different heights, forming a grid of bright colours. A realistic painting by Diptish Ghose Dastidar of a man lazily resting his foot on a bicycle, the handle of which sports a tiny plastic bag of flowers, surprises me with its sheer detailing; it’s an exact replica of a scene from a nearby street. Painting Lives, an exhibition-sale cum auction organised by the Rotary Club of Madras in collaboration with Apparao Galleries, has something for everyone; the display caters to art connoisseurs of various age groups.
The collection has been divided into two sections, according to Hemu Ramaiah of the Rotary Club of Madras. Hemu, along with Shanno Ravi and Sharan Apparao of Apparao galleries, spearheaded this project with an aim to put together a diverse collection. On one side are 62 paintings that are exclusively meant for auction, while on the other, are those that can be bought. “This is the largest fundraiser that the Rotary does every year, which is meant for charity. We are trying to extend the concept of art to the younger generation,” says Hemu.
Most often, galleries put up works of the masters, which may not be affordable to everyone. Through this initiative, the Rotary Club plans to change this trend. They also wish to inculcate a sense of appreciation for art among the youth. The proceeds from the auction, go towards ongoing projects of the Club; this includes construction of a school for the children of Tsunami survivors.
Painting Lives features works from all over India. Hemu says, “India is a great place for emerging artists. We contacted a lot of galleries across the country, and they sent in a range of works. We went through the collection and looked at what would appeal to the Chennai audience.” Apart from emerging artists, works by artists like Anjolie Ela Menon, Manjunath Kamath, Rekha Rodwittiya, and Akkitham Narayanan also feature in this collection.
Kamath’s work on the human-animal dichotomy on a bright red background, seemed like an extension of his series which was recently on display at the Chennai Photo Biennale. Quirky and interesting sculptures too, are placed between the canvases and a few photographs make an appearance in between. An interesting sculpture of a golden fan made of metal nuts, stands hidden amidst the overload of colours. The maze does provide interesting options, which definitely qualify as collectibles.
Painting Lives will be on display from 12 pm to 8 pm everyday, at the Acropolis, Dr Radhakrishnan Salai, till April 12. The auction will take place on April 5, at 6.30 pm, at Hyatt Regency, Chennai. Those interested in the auction can call 9884041020, 9841289637.