‘Painting, portraits, photography’ – Kodava art on display at the Aadipaaya exhibition

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Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru recently hosted an exhibition titled Adipaaya (‘foundation’ in the Kodava language), with the spotlight on the regional art of Kodagu or Coorg.

It included painting, portraits, photography, sculpture, and textiles (see Part I of our coverage here). There was also a durational live performance of art by Bengaluru-based art facilitator and performance artist Monica Nanjunda.

Pandemic impact

“Financially for many, the pandemic was a bad time,” explains award-winning artist-curator Smitha Cariappa, in a chat with YourStory.

At the same time, artists involved in studio practice worked consistently towards a large body of works. “Some experimented with and did inter-disciplinary works,” she adds.

“The restrictions also gave us a lot of time to contemplate and look at nature around, especially study natural light in our living spaces. For others, it was even a luxury to work with non-stop silence in their own space,” she adds.

Art, education, awareness

“Like the rest of India, art in Kodagu is yet to be considered an important subject in the school curriculum. Visual art has yet to focus on education counselling and career guidance,” Smitha observes.

“Awareness of fine art should extend beyond cosmopolitan cities, and it should extend beyond hobbies and skills,” she advises.

“With a regional art school and art teaching in schools, the approach towards art will change,” she suggests.

“I hope this exhibition will narrow the gap between artist and audience, and make the visual arts more popular as a profession and career among the Kodavas living in Kodagu and outside,” Smitha explains.

She hopes this platform will be expanded to include future artistic possibilities and explorations through workshops, talks, exchanges and interventions.

“Please relax and visit galleries – with no baggage and presumptions, and enjoy the artwork,” Smith signs off, as advice to audiences.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?

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