Art exhibitions and auctions support causes

Art exhibitions and auctions support causes
GOOD DEED: M F Husian’s painting Untitled
It is now widely perceived that one of the best ways to raise funds for charity is art exhibitions and art auctions. A judicious mix of art works by famous names and upcoming younger artists — whose works are often created at an art camp or workshop — has traditionally been considered more or less infallible. However, with the worldwide economic crisis one can no longer be sure that all or some and in the worst scenario, any paintings will find buyers.

Earlier this year to fund their ongoing educational projects, one of Kolkata’s most prestigious clubs had recently organised an art auction during a well-attended international evening. The selection of artworks offered by a Kolkata gallery, included the best-known names in Bengal’s art world, but only a handful showed an interest in bidding at the auction. As a result the auctioneer had a rather difficult time but eventually proved equal to the uphill task by finding buyers for all the paintings.

The Rotary Club of Bangalore has just concluded an exhibition at the West End Art Corridor, to raise funds for their educational programmes. The exhibition brought in a splendid collection of works of artists from the south as well as other parts of India and moved to Bangalore’s Galerie D’Arts on MG Road, where the artworks are still on show for one week, on behalf of the Rotary Club. It may be noted that the gallery has chosen not to take commission on these sales and is hopeful that with the additional extra exposure, all the works will find buyers.

The Delhi Art Gallery’s efforts to support the NGO ‘Khushii’, brought together art lovers and collectors to at the highly prestigious auction titled ‘Smiles’ on April 11th and hosted by British High Commissioner Sir James and Lady Bevan at their residence. The invitation invited guests to An Auction of 20th Century Indian Modern Art and featured on its cover, one of MF Husain’s famous paintings of Mother Teresa — a perfect choice for the event. By ‘using their voice to contribute to Khushii’s efforts to grow’ a committed group of philanthropists headed by former cricketer Kapil Dev, had been involved in this project. With the funds collected at the auction, Khushii, will be able to reach out to a larger section of underpriviledged persons in the areas of education and general development.

The ‘Smiles’ auction also brought smiles to the faces of those present, as there was such an amazing variety of works. Would-be collectors had already been sent copies of the splendid catalogue that was produced for the event and had come prepared to bid for the 70 lots that were being auctioned. The earliest works at the auction were by some legendary painters, Ramkinkar Baij, Indra Dugar, Chittaprasad and K S Kulkarni. Among the top favourites were M F Husain, S H Raza, F N Souza, Satish Gujral, Jamini Roy, Akbar Padamsee, J Swaminathan, Anjolie Ela Menon, G R Santosh and K H Ara. Then came the slightly younger lot — B Prabha, Ganesh Pyne, Sunil Das, Shobha Broota, Ganesh Pyne, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Biren De and others. All in all this was a true feast for the eyes and should certainly be considered one of the most successful charity auctions in India.

(The writer is an author and a former art gallery owner)

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