(Speech at a Painting Exhibition at N.Delhi on 14/6/09)
Visual art is a valuable expression of the creative faculty of mankind. It is integral to every civilization. If literature can be mirror of society, art and craft follows literature, rather closely. It can be more expressive than the former, sometimes.
A man or a woman, while drawing, painting or for that matter, photographing, thinks profusely. He or she has a keen, observant and decisive eye. Resultantly, expression is possible through the powerful medium of sketch, cartoon or painting.
Apart from highlighting the hidden mysteries and treasures of life, super human powers, events, individuals, places, etc, an object of art provides necessary solace to the artist when he or she desires to share the same.
Art has been an evolving and never stopping phenomenon. Just think of the value of objects of Indus Valley and Vedic Civilizations, cave paintings and sculptors of Ajanta and Ellora or the variety of folk arts of our country, such as, Kangra, Kishangarh, Kalamkari, Madhubani, Thanka, or the intricate and elaborate carvings and paintings in the palaces, temples, mosques, churches and the monasteries.
In our lovely and awesome country taking right pride in unity in diversity, each region has a distinct art form. But not everything gets known or publicized, forget about ensuring a minimum and reasonable price for the hard and time consuming labour of the artist. In good old days, we had the Emperors and Kings patronizing the artists. Soon the Government took over the responsibility, followed by the NGOs and the corporate houses. Now we also have individual admirers and buyers.
Keats said long back: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” How many of us realize it? Perhaps,very few.
Let us maintain this kind of healthy tradition. In addition to recognizing and encouraging the artists, let us ensure adequate price for their products. These paintings reflect our heritage and rich culture. We should preserve and promote them. While doing so, let us exercise due caution. Let us guard against the imitated and fake products. These have no place in a civilized society.