An exhibition is a great platform to showcase the art of a particular artist or a form. It is nothing but an opportunity to give art a much needed exposure so that more and more people get to know about it. If you turn pages of newspaper or go through the newsfeeds in social media, you will come to know that several galleries in your city hold exhibitions on various topics. But do they really contribute to the development and nurturing of these artists or/and art forms? India is the land of such rich history, culture and art. Lack of exposure is resulting into extinction of many of these art forms. Let us discuss what role can an exhibition play in reviving these traditional Indian art and give them the much required limelight.
Very recently, the Indian association in the city of Tokyo held a very informal art and craft exhibition. Though Worli and Madhubani art forms are quite known ones, but unfortunately due to lack of practice, they are on the verge of extinction. This exhibition which was held very informally without involving dignitaries and celebrities, done by the men and women from a very decent background, successfully evoked interest about these art forms in many. The paintings were appreciated, the cards were sold immediately and artefacts were ordered to be made more. The bottom line is people are willing to appreciate provided they learn about the art. And easiest way to make art forms available to them is through exhibition.
Another easy way to make these Indian traditional art make its way to the limelight and reach more and more people is implementing them into the things that is used every day and then hold an exhibition. In India, best way is to put art forms on 5-6 meters long canvas, that is, sarees. And that was what done by Delhi Craft Council. They organized a three day long exhibition in New Delhi for the sarees designed by 21 weavers and craftsmen with expertise on Indian traditional art of dyeing and weaving. These artists came from different parts of the world. To make these sarees and art forms interesting for every generation, innovations were added to the tradition. Different techniques and designs were infused into them which was appealing to the eyes and taste of all age groups. This event was organized to mark the golden jubilee year celebration of the organization.
Such exhibitions serve two fold purpose- firstly they give traditions a contemporary platform to reach out to maximum number of people and secondly, encouraging the weavers and craftsmen by giving away awards to ensure longer life of these art forms. It is another unfortunate thing that many of the weaving arts are dying a slow death due to lack of money and astonishing fact is that these types of weaving are quite common and have demand in the market. Middle men who take these sarees and fabrics from the weavers are charging hefty amounts for their craftsmanship but paying very little to them. Such exhibitions help people know what is the actual price for the sarees like Kanjeevaram, Paithani, Ikkat, Baluchari and Jamdani. End consumers pay a fortune for a saree but the weavers get peanuts. By eliminating the two levels of agents and sellers through these exhibitions, price comes to a point where weavers too get a decent price and buyers get their favourite sarees without making a hole in their pockets.
So yes, an exhibition can not only bring traditional Indian art into limelight, but also encourage the industry and the weavers to continue with their hard work. People get first hand genuine information about the art of weaving, dyeing and craftsmanship. Everything contributes to the longer life of this ancient art form which has been integral part of India.