A peacock eyes a human portrait.
Avid arts promoter Artscrafts is once again in the limelight, having brought artworks from India and the UAE to exhibit them under one roof as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (Nectar Festival of Freedom), to commemorate the 76th Indian Independence Day. The three-day festival was held August 13 – 15, under the patronage of the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi. A variety of events were presented as part of the celebrations. Forty artists took part and there were art competitions, exhibitions, art workshops, panel talks, Live Art, and kids’ programmes, among others.
The event was inaugurated by Dhruv Mishra, Second Secretary (Political Affairs), Embassy of India. Apart from artworks from India and the UAE, there were also performing art concerts during the opening and closing ceremonies, which added more colour to the event. “All the artists, including those who participated in the exhibition, conducted live art, workshops, and rangoli (traditional Indian decoration and patterns, created particularly during festivals). Our sponsors, support partners, hospitality partners and media, were so keenly involved in making this event a memorable one. Above all, we are deeply indebted to the art fraternity that joined hands with us in making this event a huge success,” said Anil Kejriwal, Founder and CEO, Artscrafts.
Nineteen artists participated in the Live Art section. They were watched closely, as the audience got an opportunity to see the methods involved in the creative process.
Sarans Guruvayoor created a 9 X 5 feet painting depicting the seventy-five years of Indian Independence history on a single canvas. Panel Talk was another highlight of the event. “Knowledge is meant to be shared and I couldn’t have asked for a better platform to share my views on protecting nature and life,” said Event Director Raisa Mariam Rajan, who also presented a paper on Sustainable Art.
Vandana Sudhir, the Indian Ambassador’s wife, shared the stage with other panelists and spoke insightfully on creativity, womanhood, and self-expression. The “Heal your Heart” programme, an event intended to release repressed emotions through painting, was a great hit. “I could go back and relive my childhood through this workshop,” said a participant.
Another attraction was pottery made by Pranoti Karajgi. It captivated both adults and kids alike. Children painted flags on day one and on day two, they created live art to celebrate their motherland. “These activities will help kids know more about India. We should sow the seeds of patriotism at a very young age to produce a generation of responsible citizens who could actively contribute to the growth of Mother India,” said Dr. Devisree S, Event Director.
A visitor keenly observes the artworks.
The closing event of the three-day festival was presided over by Sunjay Sudhir, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, who expressed his happiness in its success. He also distributed awards to the best artists. Artists Anubha Kaw, Sathya Gauthaman, Elizabeth Davis, Vidya Ayyaswamy, Medha Nerurkar, Dr. Devisree S, Vijay Dhore and Banani Kundu, were felicitated with medals for creating the best artworks. Bhumika Ujjainkar, Helem T Jose, Sania Zehra, Parvathi Vineed, Nada Nurukupparan and Souparnika S Misha, were selected the best child artists.
Eminent personalities such Mohan Jashanmal, Sharad Bhandari, Vinay Varma, Suhail Jashanmal, Ahmed Al Awadhi, Anjini Prakash Laitu, Ali Shuja Al Afifi and Girish Pant, shared the stage with the Ambassador and his wife, Vandana Sudhir. The Artscrafts team was lauded by the Indian Embassy for their tireless efforts to host the festival and make it a success. It was organised by Kejriwal. Sudheer Balakrishnan (Event Advisor), Raisa Mariam Rajan and Dr. Devisree S (Event Directors), Pallavi Bagore (Chief Coordinator), Nilesh Bagore (Tech expert), and Khushi Kejriwal (Marketing Lead), were the team behind the event.
Kejriwal is a chartered accountant by profession and the Director of Jindal Saw Group companies in the UAE. His initial interest in art and artists was sparked by a Madhubani painting that was gifted by a friend. Madhubani art is a style of painting practiced in the Mithila region of India and Nepal, in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is named after the Madhubani district of Bihar State, India, where it originated. Artists create Madhubani paintings using a variety of mediums, including their own fingers, or twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks.
The paint is created using natural dyes and pigments and the paintings are characterised by their eye-catching geometrical patterns. There is ritual content for particular occasions, such as birth or marriage, and festivals.
Kejriwal’s curiosity to know more about the artwork and the artists led him to the sad plight of an artist, who had fallen on hard times. His attempts to help her resulted in his buying more art pieces from her. “It made me ponder deep about the lives of artists,” he says. The thought of providing a permanent solution to her problems and many like her, eventually led to building the website www.artscrafts.co. Over the years, Artscrafts has grown into a platform connecting thousands of artists around the globe. The group conducts art competitions, exhibitions, kids’ art events and workshops, among many more. Artscrafts does not demand any sort of registration fee or payment on the part of the participating artists. The Government of India is currently celebrating 75 years of Independence of India from British rule. General celebrations began on March 12, 2021 and will continue till August 15, 2023.
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