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SIM­PLY BAN­GA­LORE tracks the jour­ney of the women who had the abil­ity to dream big

India Today - - INSIDE - BY SON­ALI ACHAR­JEE

COM­MU­NITY ART AR­CHANA PRASAD

Walk­ing down Richmond Road, one can’t help but no­tice Jaaga. What was once an empty space has now been con­verted into a free-stand­ing struc­ture made out of pal­let rack­ing and ply­wood by Ar­chana Prasad, 33 and her team. But what makes Jaaga spe­cial are the people who walk into it. From artists to techies, poets, writ­ers and sculp­tors, Jaaga has be­come an open com­mu­nity space for lo­cals to ideate, ex­hibit and cre­ate. Be it an ex­hi­bi­tion of paint­ings, or a work­shop on front-end cod­ing and de­sign, Prasad’s small project has al­ready served over 3,000 people. “Be­ing an artist in In­dia can be quite frus­trat­ing if you lack the money and ex­pe­ri­ence. Very few gal­leries want to take a chance and ex­hibit your work; jug­gling a full-time job to fund your work is also drain­ing,” says Prasad, who has a post-grad­u­a­tion di­ploma in an­i­ma­tion from Na­tional In­sti­tute of De­sign, Ahmed­abad. Prasad, who held a TedX talk in Mum­bai re­cently, is also a fel­low of the Art Think South Asia 2010 pro­gramme. “I worked for about two-and-a-half years with Mi­crosoft Re­search as a de­sign re­searcher. It was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence but even­tu­ally I re­alised I want to work in a more cre­ative field. I quit my job with plans to start an artist-run gallery in Ban­ga­lore,” she says. How­ever, when land­lords re­peat­edly re­fused to give her a space to start a gallery, Prasad de­cided to take mat­ters in her own hands and Jaaga was born. Now it is no­madic and ex­per­i­men­tal, both in terms of ar­chi­tec­ture and the art is dis­plays. “We can al­ways mould and shift the struc­ture ac­cord­ing to the land owner. But the enthusiasm, bond­ing and pas­sion al­ways re­mains steady,” says Prasad.

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