“I am proud to be known as a Pune-based artist”
When my family shifted to Pune from Mumbai eight years ago, we were all excited to make the move—for various reasons, of course. We didn’t have any roots in this city but there were various things about it that attracted us. For me, importantly, I could have a space for my own studio. And the lovely weather and the peace of mind I got was so conducive for getting inspired to work.
As an artist, I was familiar with the pulse of Mumbai and what people liked. But I realised, as I started touring art galleries in Pune, that most places had a very different sensibility from my work. The city focussed on local artists; water colour landscapes, realistic portraits and a few abstracts. I was a little apprehensive about how my work, which is whimsical, quirky and with a touch of humour, would be received. I wasn't sure if I would be looked at as a serious artist and continued showing my work in Mumbai. I started showing my work to a few friends I had made in the world of art. What I found refreshing is that the art galleries were very approachable.
Over the years, I have seen the change taking place in the art scenario. Artists from around India being invited to exhibit their work and Puneites started getting an exposure to different styles of paintings, sculptures and installations. Bharati Vidyapeeth came forward to put together Pune Binnale and did a great job of it. They called upon many artists to generate ideas related to saving hills of Pune. Some prominent curators from out of the city were invited to curate shows. Art galleries took part in this event to showcase work done by many artists and important public places were utilised to display installations and sculptures.
What we need to do now is get all artists come together to start a festival of the arts which will attract audiences from other cities. Just as Mumbai is a hub for art, Pune too can get recognition as a connoisseur of serious art. Any artist’s dream is to exhibit at Mumbai’s Jehangir Art gallery and I too, will be showing there later this year. But seeing the city welcoming art, I am proud to be known as a Pune-based artist.
Bharati Pitre is a papier mache and commercial artist
WHAT WE NEED TO DO NOW IS GET ALL ARTISTS COME TOGETHER TO START A FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS