After being neglected for a decade, the State Gallery of Art is finally getting a new lease of life, thanks to its director D. Manohar. It has been a year since Manohar has taken over, and apart from conducting more than 60 art camps, he has also started working on thawing the famously frosty relationship between the State Gallery of Art heads and the biggies of the art world — Vaikuntam, Laxma Goud, Surya Prakash and others.
The senior artists were very upset at not being consulted about the gallery during its inception and had been boycotting it since. This had led to the growth and success of private art galleries. But things are changing now. Manohar has been reaching out to the seniors regularly and his efforts have begun to pay off as Vaikuntam has been taking up invites and visited two art camps hosted by the gallery.
Manohar isn’t letting ego come in the way and is working towards getting the best on board because he has a passion for art and culture. “The rift between the artists and the gallery is an old story. Now is the time for new beginnings. The state is new and so are the people in charge of the gallery. Now everyone must come together and work towards making Telangana an art hub. I have been requesting Laxma Goud again and again.”
The reason Manohar is trying so hard is because he understands the importance of having the best artists on board and he himself has been on stage quite a few times. “I’m a theatre artiste. While I was the secretary at the Secretariat Culture Association, I acted in numerous plays. I played mythological characters Karna, Dhritarashtra and was even an army general in a play about Rudramadevi. These plays were broadcast on TV.” After many years, Manohar moved on to the Tourism department where he was the assistant secretary. After retirement, he took over as director of the State Gallery.
Now his main objective is to inject life back into the gallery. He has got artist Manohar Chiluveru as well as Vani Devi, the principal of Venkateshwara Fine Arts, on board to help with activities. With Chiluveru’s help, the director is organising an international residency programme where international artists will be invited to Hyderabad. Once here, they will get to interact with top artists and will also be taken around Telangana where they can meet local artisans. Artists from Spain will first come over followed by those from Italy and France.
In future, Manohar is also keen on sending local artists abroad. “I am also opening up a platform for artists and buyers to interact directly at the gallery. They can sell their works from here and we will take no commission, unlike private galleries.”
Another interesting revelation that Manohar shares is about The Indian Photography Festival, which will take place in in October. This is going to be a national-level event and plans are afoot to bring in the biggest names in the field. Most importantly perhaps, Manohar is developing a good website for the gallery so that the world is aware of what they are up to....