Altamira Art Gallery on Lake View Road came alive with bursts of artistic fervour between December 25 and 30 with the second sale and purchase event of SawDesi, from the house of Art Melange, with My Kolkata as digital partner. Curated by Sourabh Ghosh and Eliza Bhowmik, this six-day-long exhibition-cum-sale celebrated art that blends seamlessly into everyday life.
‘SawDesi has provided me with the most sales I have ever received from an exhibition!’
Tarak Gorai inaugurated the exhibition on December 25
Inaugurated by senior sculptor Tarak Gorai, the exhibition hosted seven brands that delved into a bevy of art forms and styles. “The amalgamation of such inventive ideas must be commended. I must also congratulate Sourabh and Eliza’s hard work, which grants wings to budding artists to both showcase and sell their craft,” stated Gorai as he walked around sharing tricks of the trade with the exhibitionists.
Gorai was joined by senior artist Sandeep Chatterjee, who is known for his mystical renditions regarding the architecture of Indian temples. Chatterjee’s artworks were also displayed throughout the exhibition. “The joy of bringing people together through such an artistic initiative isn’t an easy feat in today’s times. I’m elated to have been able to contribute to this,” said Chatterjee.
Raysa Bhowmik, a repeat exhibitionist with Sawdesi, launched her fridge magnets collection this time around. Her homegrown handmade brand, Kulungi, specialises in miniature home decor items, ranging from modestly priced wooden coasters to keychains. However, it is her hand-painted bedsheets that drew most of the audience’s attention. “SawDesi has provided me with the most sales I have ever received from an exhibition!” said a gleaming Raysa.
The Singleshot stall at the exhibition
Across the gallery, with a name
inspired by shots of coffee that keep their team fuelled through the night, sat
Singleshot from the house of Grinning Tree. Having worked on Tollywood graphics
for over two decades, Antara Chowdhury and Shamik Chatterjee adapted Satyajit
Ray’s world through invigorating ink sketches of some of Ray’s most celebrated
characters, including Feluda. Apart from this,
Singleshot also stocked T-shirts featuring peppy original artwork and witty
Bengali quotes, 3D magnets, postcards and their trademark achievement, Khagam,
a graphic novel adaptation of the horror story by Ray of the same name. “We’re
working on Ratan Babu Aar Shei
Lokta and Mr. Shashmal Er Shesh Ratri next for our graphic novel adaptations,” said the
Mayukh Chakraborty and Subhadeep Dey, both self-taught artists, added their distinct flavours to the exhibition. Textile designer by day, Chakraborty has exhibited his paintings both nationally and internationally, while Dey finds solace in perfecting the intricacies of the natural world by reimagining them through his acrylic, charcoal and pastel representations. With prices as low as Rs 100 for his products, Dey said: “It’s an honour to be able to connect to so many people here, something which is invaluable as an experience.”
‘Our aim is to grow the art of spoken music’
Ishan BBX and Meghadri Bhattacharya
The artists at Altamira were also accompanied by performers. Ishan BBX, who specialises in infusing Indian classical notes with western style beatboxing, mesmerised the audience with authentic originals along with singer Anisha Bedajna. “Our aim is to grow the art of spoken music. Even maestros such as Ravi Shankar used to speak their notes before playing them,” stated Ishan. On the other hand, Meghadri Bhattacharya, armed with his guitar, swayed the crowd to the beats of Bangla rock and pop. The gallery also featured a “Ubharte Sitare” arena, replete with artworks of teens and pre-teen talents from across Kolkata.
Pops of colour invaded a slice of Altamira, holding the hands of 13-year-old Rivaan Mukherjee. Mukherjee’s Artchii, which specialises in the craft of doodling, has turned one, even though the finesse of his designs indicate a veteran at work. “I have mostly sold my artworks to friends and family members. When I made my first sale to a complete stranger, who bought my doodled mug not because he knew me personally but because he genuinely liked my products, I felt incredible! I mostly do mugs, magnets and coasters, but wish to venture into phone cases, too,” said the Vexx fan whose products were priced at modest rates between Rs 65 and 70.
Ayan Bhattacharya exploring the collection at Kulungi
“I have always been a fan of SawDesi. My house is filled to the brim with goodies from their exhibitions. The balance of art and entrepreneurship is inspiring,” said actor Ayan Bhattacharya, while fellow actor Angana Roy added: “Local, homegrown products that are not usually showcased elsewhere are always present at SawDesi, which makes for a unique collection to explore.”
‘We have taken the decision to sponsor one economically challenged brand in every exhibition we organise’
Bardhaman’s Debabrata Mondal and Susanta Mondal
were unable to afford exhibition spaces in the city when they came to SawDesi
seeking help. On seeing the exceptional quality of their watercolour paintings
and handcrafted masks and shoras, Bhowmik and Ghosh decided to sponsor
their entire exhibition fees, upholding their ethos centred around the
promotion of art devoid of barriers.
“As artists ourselves, we realise the importance of
exposure and lending a helping hand to our brethren in tough times. We have
taken the decision to sponsor one economically challenged brand in every
exhibition we organise. We will also increase the number of full-sponsored
stalls if we receive external help,” said Bhowmik, who also showcased products
of her in-house brand, Allegory. Mushroom-shaped incense holders, resin clay
soap stands, jade handmade soaps, whimsical statement necklaces, coasters assuming
the shape of poached eggs, hand-painted sarees, and dainty handmade hairpins
priced at just Rs 20 were some of the products on display.
Sawdesi will hold its next exhibition at the
Jorbangla Art Gallery on Fern Road between January 13 and 14, featuring brands
from across West Bengal, including an idiosyncratic wooden mask brand from
north Bengal, a doodle art brand, and a food stall featuring unconventional
flavours of pithe puli.
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