83 artists showcase their work at Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore

Scenes of Chennai, bharatanatyam dancers in various poses, priests in conversation and a still of Padmini from Thillana Mohanambal. These are a few of the things that greeted visitors at Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore on Sunday. The park witnessed a vibrant display of artworks ranging from oil paintings, sketches and embossed artwork to miniature paintings and sand art.

After a hiatus of a few years on account of the pandemic, the Art Fest in the park returns this year. “Art is usually experienced in a gallery and that tends to keep it away from the general public. Here, we want everyone to get a chance to enjoy art,” says Ganapathy Subramaniam, who organised the fest.

The Art Fest at the park housed works from 83 artists from across the State for a day-long public exhibition. Individuals across all age groups ambled along the long line of paintings, stopping to take pictures and interacting with the artists. “The idea was to use the public space in a creative way and facilitate direct interaction between artists and the public,” said Ganapathy Subramaniam, an organiser of the fest.

“Exhibitions that take place in an informal setting encourage those who aren’t experts to come visit and purchase art pieces that they might be hesitant to do in a formal gallery,” says Vijayalakshmi B., who works on oil paintings.

Many artists agreed that the fest gave them a chance to interact with their peers, see their work and feel inspired. Anuradha Venkataraman, who paints in the Tanjore style, says despite each painting taking 50 hours to complete, she enjoys working on custom orders. Ananda Kumar, a landscape artist who had on display his paintings of the city, says he prefers to paint at the scene and usually spends many hours a day in the same spot.

An interactive installation about walking titled ‘Walks of Life’ by five students from Stella Maris’ Fine Arts Department, made under the guidance of their professor Meenakshi M., invited people to embrace the earth and leave their footprints coated with organic pigments on the canvas. The installation will be left in the park and promotes mindful walking, says Ms. Meenakshi.

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