This programme is an artist’s guide to making themselves visible in the market

Ashvita’s Emerging Artist Programme hopes to bridge the gap between talent and the market, focussing on artists from South India

Luminescent reindeer set against a dark, earthy background dotted with snowflakes — representing the transience of one’s being and the fragility of existence. Pasty shades of blue and brown dominate in the backdrop as animals form the subject of almost all the frames, in an attempt to explore the relationship between the hunter and the hunted; the concept of ‘the victim’.

This body of work is an introduction to R Magesh, a full-time artist who has exhibited in various group shows including the India Art Fair. He is one of the many young artists that Ashvita’s gallery has chosen to extend its guidance and mentorship to, through its Emerging Artist Programme.

And now, the programme invites artists from South India, conducts artist interviews, creativity reviews and critiques their works, thereby bridging the gap between the talent and the market. A curatorial guidance is most often what young artists lack.

Priya Sundaravalli’s work
 
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“It’s a two-part process. The first part is identifying, interviewing and understanding the talent. The second part comprises writing, researching and critiquing and looking at their work for a longer period of time. Our idea is to not just look at the artist development side, but also to look at how we can take them to the market,” says Ashvin E Rajagopalan, co-founder of Ashvita’s. In this way, the market also widens for art connoisseurs.

“There is a huge saturation of artists, but we are making sure that we are not adding to the clutter. We say, here are artists that have gone through a rigorous process — here are a few options that you may want to collect,” continues Ashvin. The first batch will feature six artists. Some artists in the series have even been practising for even decades, yet are not visible. The idea is to find out how they can magnify and scale up their work.

While cities like Mumbai and Delhi have thriving art communities, down South, even the number of active galleries are on the lower side. Artists who practise in the South most often are also not exposed to critical thinking, says Ashvin. “When there is a vibrant atmosphere, there is more thought,” he continues. This is the reason why Ashvita’s is currently focussing on entries from the South.

R Magesh’s work
 
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What is the criteria behind their choice of artists? “We are not looking at one specific aesthetic in terms of the works or the artists,” says Sanjana Srinivasan of the curatorial team, adding they are choosing those who are serious about the practice and have a vision to keep going forward. “How honest they are with their work, can be seen when you speak to them,” continues Sanjana.

A body of work, along with the concept note of each of the artists, is displayed on Ashvita’s website (ashvitas.com) and social media handles (@ashvitasindia) for connoisseurs to sift through. While Magesh and Chennai-based Maanas Udayakumar have already been featured, Auroville-based ceramic artist Priya Sundaravalli and Roshan Chabbria are among others who will follow in the coming days.

Interested artists with a strong foothold in their practice can write in to [email protected]

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