Home is where the art is

Artists from across the world have made Bengaluru their home a city that inspires and influences their work. We find out how.

The next time you step out for a cuppa, look around you. We promise that you’ll find at least one person who is from a far-flung state across India, speaks a different dialect or is from another country all together. Heck, the person you’re drinking tea with might fit this bill even.

This warmth and a state of affability that is Bengaluru, has for years, attracted people from across the world. Inspired by the city that puts a spark in their art, some of them have stuck around and now call this melting pot of culture, their home. We speak to these foreigners who are as Bengalurean as you and I, about how this ever-evolving city has shaped what they do.

The young French graphic novelist, Simon Lamouret’s exhibit of graphic sketches inspired by the city stand testimony to the acres of influence Bengaluru has on the work of these artists. His Carnes de Voyage, a month-long exhibit at Alliance Francaise captures the pace of Bengaluru. “It’s my attempt to capture a lifestyle that manifests in the public space. I stick to street views and short scenes that I’ve witnessed in them. Basically whether it’s about the stories or the illustrations, the drive is always the same: I feel an urge to keep a trace of a moment which has vanished soon after it was noticed,” says the Simon who has been living in Bengaluru for over three years now and even teaches graphic design at a school here.

“I love too many things about Bengaluru to list them – the vegetation, awkward architectural realisations, the few colonial buildings, the bazaar, the locals (I wish I could interact verbally with, those who might have so much to teach me) and mostly the cosmopolitan crowd from across India,” he says about his sphere of inspiration.

“People are who make a place, and it is people who transcend social, economical and cultural divides. It is this networking and connectivity that gives Bengaluru an edge, both professionally and personally,” admits John Rowell, a British photographer who’s been in the city for over three years now and now documents talented young artists in Bengaluru for a project with Alliance Francaise de Bangalore. Comparing his photographs from before his time in the city and after, he admits that it is hard to deny the influence the city has had on his work. “I have learnt to embrace vibrancy and unpredictability, and instead of fighting it, inviting it into my images as it is part of the story,” he says, noticing a striking change in his focus – towards wildlife and nature.

Like John, French photographer Magali Couffon agrees that Bengaluru’s people – friendly and interesting is the best thing about it. Having made it her home for over 13 years now, Magali quit her corporate textile job to take to the streets with her camera to follow the excitement – colours, faces, smiles and stories. “That way, Bengaluru has inspired me as it’s my daily scenery,” she says, missing nothing but perhaps cheese and her family in France. “I don’t think there is a better place in the world than India for a photographer!” she says, now working on including more personal pictures to her portfolio of the street she lives in or her children on their way to school, for instance. “I’d love to make a book one day,” she smiles.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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