Bangalore: The annual art festival, Chitra Sante, kicked off on Sunday at noon at Chitrakala Parishath, drawing a large crowd throughout the day. The event was inaugurated Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
As always, the sante brought in local artists from across the country, who lined up at Kumara Krupa Road to display their works. By mid afternoon - Kumara Krupa Road had been closed to traffic, as people thronged the area. "I come here every year," said Nithin G, a techie. "CKP holds a lot of memories for me and the Sante highlights local art from across the country.”
"This is my fourth year at the Sante," said Sanjiv Sen, an artist from Kolkata, who has set up his stall on the street, outside the CKP campus. "I can make about Rs 20,000 a day at the festival, which is a very good amount." The stalls are rented out for Rs 300 a day.
Srishal Patil, who had large acrylic-on-canvas paintings on display, hails from Gulbarga. His work, depicting a tap that rose seemingly from a well, had drawn quite a large gathering of admirers. "The well is made up of pots, what I'm trying to depict is the long water line we see every morning."
Like Patil's work, much of the other art was rooted in very cultural contexts - temples are seen as social hubs, for instance - several pictures of elephants, smiling faces of women and of course, one prominent copy of the Mona Lisa!
A volunteer from an inside stall confided that artists do display their most commercial, decorative works. "That's what sells here," she said. "The more complex works are in the gallery."
The campus itself was a beautiful sight, with enormous red and yellow banners stretching across the trees, casting the whole place in an orange glow. Stalls lined every inch of available space, with art work ranging from as low as Rs 2,000, going up to about Rs 20,000.
The lack of dustbins was evident, as litter lined the streets, posing a hazard to quite a lot of the art work. Clearly, the banana-seller did a roaring business on Sunday, as did the groundnut-seller and the ice cream man.
The place was so crowded that going anywhere meant trodding on banana peels and having your feet stepped on - but that was a secondary observation.
On the whole, the overwhelming response indicated only one thing - Bangalore craves art and culture.