One needs to gain experience for global market and I believe CIMA is providing one such platform, says Rakhi Sarkar, director of CIMA Awards. By Ankita Jain
Delhi has the glitzy India Art Fair, Mumbai has its multicultural Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Kerala has the world-class Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Bengluru has Art Bengaluru and Kolkata has a month-long CIMA Awards. Though the festival focuses on visual arts, in its second edition, cinema and music have joined the roster.
Bringing together multiple disciplines of art like paintings, sculpture, photography, cinema, music and video on the same platform, a month-long CIMA Awards: The Kolkata Art Festival will begin next month. Organised by Kolkata-based CIMA art gallery, the festival will have multiple components including the biennial CIMA Awards function and a series of exhibitions on multidisciplinary projects, workshops and seminars. “In the second edition of the CIMA awards we are planning a meeting of minds from different disciplines. We are partnering with different agencies and inviting other galleries also within West Bengal and outside,” said Rakhi Sarkar, CIMA director. “In the course of my several years of being in this art world, I felt deeply disturbed that art was being dominated by the metropolitan cities. But outside of that, somehow Indian artists never really got a platform,” Rakhi added.
In cinema, one can notice an interesting capsule of experimental films. When asked how cinema is affecting art in today’s context, Rakhi said, “The boundaries are emerging and therefore, the visual arts are also including architecture and design in the art festival. Also we have tried to make it multidisciplinary by placing visual arts in context of other arts.” A large exhibition of visual art is expected to travel from Germany and will be showcased to coincide with the CIMA Awards show. “People will get to see contemporary art, not seen that often. The German artists are planning an exhibition of 42 works of art from different disciplines with a theme of migration,” said Rakhi. CIMA is also getting in touch with agencies to work in the field of cinema, performance art and experimental music. “Music and cinema are two inclusions in the art festival. We want new sounds and experimental music. The events will be spread over different venues in the city. Besides art exhibits, the whole month will also have directors of leading museums, scholars and art historians participating in discussions. School children across the city are working on the concept of ‘connecting history: Kolkata and the world’. They all are working on various mediums. IIT Kharagpur has already started a series of workshops with international participation,” shared Rakhi.
She stressed that it will be a ‘transparent system’ and the members of jury are individuals known for their excellence in various fields of visual arts and are from other disciplines as well such as literature, music, and cinema. It will take a few years to fine tune the project for it involves the whole country and is meant only for Indian residents.
“We hope to get a good response. We hope to discover new artists. We reckoned that there is a lot of talent in smaller towns and semi urban areas,” said Rakhi.
The curator and director, in a bid to catch hold of people who are not serious art lovers, is trying to roll some popular faces for the festival. “Last year it was just the Cima Awards show and this year we have added a lot of content through a four day international symposium. It is an international symposium where people from Take Modern to MOMA, New York will be participating. Besides around 10-15 people are coming from across the world to participate in this platform. We have also tried to give it a slightly multidisciplinary dimension where there will be film stars, theatre personality and also a London based historian and author Sunil Khilnani. He will be talking about what is history after all. This interaction will give depth to the project.”
In terms of timing and positioning, The Kolkata Art Festival is being aligned with other art festivals “from Jaipur Lit Fest to India Art Fair to Kochi Biennale to Kala Ghoda” so that is all in the same circuit and “one flows into the other”.
Rakhi believes this creative art path is going to increase footfalls for the festival. “We have asked many of our international delegates to visit Kochi and then visit Kolkata or vice versa. This whole creative part of art is helping the art traffic within India.”
About young artist and Indian artist in global market, she said, “While we were working for CIMA, one thing we realised is that there are many young artist from the smaller towns, semi urban areas, who have no access to the city galleries. Many of them are not even being projected properly.
This is the main idea behind CIMA Awards, to reach the unreachable. About the global market, one needs to gain experience for that and I believe CIMA is providing one such platform.”
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