Samuha in the Press

Walls of raw life

By Marta Jakimowicz
Source: Deccan Herald | 22.2.10
Online at The Deccan Herald >>

The latest event at Samuha (February 6 to 15) was an exceptional exhibition with empathic modesty, original thought and witty seriousness, integrating a gesture, conceptual method and gut-level sensation.
It was ‘compiled’ from popular, lower-end urban posters by Oarsed, the Indian alter ego of the Swiss artist Christoph Storz who lives largely in
this city.

Hardly noticeable except by working-class people walking along shoddy buildings plastered with smallish advertisements, their images naively expressive yet effective in form and content reflect and condense the ethos of those people.
The show was a token of regard both for their spirit and the art of the poster-makers. Having treated the space architecturally, as the regular display rows followed the wall structure, Oarsed conjured an experience of facing the prints directly and close-on, much of it at the eye level and passing by, which gave the spectator the sensation of being in the enhanced position of an ordinary pedestrian on the road.
The posters were carefully arranged by grouping similar subjects and juxtaposing their different aspects or other topics so as to make the works stronger in impact and relationships.

In these proximities, the actors’ exaggerated expressions, that nevertheless touched the live nerve, and the weird creatures generated an evocation of raw, crudely intense and yet poetic, emotions from horror to love, to fascination, fantasy, pride, stress, aggressiveness, and above all, vivacious exuberance and resilience.
The lithographic prints which repeat and slightly change a set canon, each perhaps not always great, together turned powerful in aesthetic terms.
The technique relying on long practiced stencilling, which is basically a kind of drawing, created specific graphic effects, where frequently multiple contour lines oscillate in a smooth-nervous tempo around shapes imbuing those with some tension.
By honouring those popular posters and by making his own art work from them, Oarsed cleverly inserted among them pieces commissioned by him which using the same style depicted scenes with artists and critics from previous Samuha exhibitions and events.
He thus not only underscored the common aims and validity of educated art and its humbler version, but let one feel it are realise the cathartic connection with ordinary real life that the efforts of Samuha wish to address.

Art emerges from this and that

Source: The Hindu | 24.01.10
Online at The Hindu >>

BANGALORE: Ayisha Abraham, independent filmmaker and artist, says that her video installation “Subterranea” could be seen as both an archive of disparate material and an artistic project. On at the Samuha Artists’ Collective at ADA Rangamandira till January 29, Ms. Abraham’s project has been devised keeping both aspects in mind through a process of research and collection, fragments of film, beta and VHS video, and finding them a place to coexist.

One of the three video installations is the archive of dancer Ram Gopal, and is a fragment of 8 mm colour film. She says the footage was handed to her after an amateur filmmaker in her neighbourhood had died at 93. “It had been put away for at least 40 years in a box in an over-crowded storeroom. It was just handed to me. It could have been in the trash can seconds later,” she says.

“In this footage, the two — then amateurs (Ram Gopal and the filmmaker) — perform their desires, their passions for reinventing a sense of self. The reinvention is crucial to the way I compile the images of Ram Gopal here in the exhibition.

She then moves from literal light space to a deep and dark space of a mine in the film installation “Through a Dark Mine” taking footage from historian Jankai Nair’s film on Kolar Gold Fields before its closure.

“Through A Dark Mine is a work in progress,” she says. “It is an attempt to see how I can reuse this footage to evoke the depths of the earth that can no longer be seen in that specific site. What can it be like to be 7,000 ft. beneath the surface of the earth extracting ore that makes gold that makes wealth; how can this footage speak to us?”

And then there is Ms. Abraham’s grandmother’s story. “Strangely her name was Thangam, which means gold. I only thought of this later, as I laid out the video “In Her House” on a table. Her story is a personal one and told from the interiors of her home and out of a small box found in her cupboard, after she died,” she says.

“These fragments could be said to all come together temporarily to reflect upon forms of being, that could be said to be very 20th century,” she says.


Art Review: Insignificant as substance

Marta Jakimowicz
Source: The Deccan Herald | January 2010
Online at the Deccan Herald >>

One has observed Surekha’s work in its evolution from painting to two and three-dimensional pieces characterised by emotive qualities embedded in the physicality of their unconventional materials, to installation involving photographic elements and to video. Her focus has moved from the feminine condition and craft reference to an increasingly broader angle concerning society with its locales and eventually to interaction with individual people, their stories and situations epitomising, nevertheless, vast phenomena of the changing reality as well as a number of rudimentary questions and values. Two years into the latter kind of effort, she projected several videos arranged very effectively in an environment-like installation (Samuha, January 2 to 11).

The somewhat awkwardly titled display of “Un-Claimed & Other Urban F(r)ictions” had a multitude of old, worn out computer keyboards with loose cables cladding the walls and a piled semicircle of shakily stacked monitors on the floor. The installation conjured a veritable architectural surround that let one intuit the altered structure of our world brought about by the omnipresence of digital technology. At the same time, yet, it indicated the transitory nature of this world which constantly produces, uses and discards communication machines as though in an artificial metamorphosis of the ancient life cycle. One of the longer videos in a large-scale projection – “re-source” addressed the business of computer recycling.

The refuse of the global age was handled there quite like any modest, traditional trade in scrap. The camera alternated and sometimes blended passages of conversation with the dealers and those of the masses of computer parts in their store. As the speakers oscillated between matter-of-fact and passionate tones and the machinery from structure to rhythmic surface, indeed, the old and new dynamisms of life seemed to permeate. One appreciated the coexistence there of documentation, personal engagement and visual expressiveness, although tighter editing would have helped.

The choice of apparently insignificant, rejected objects which are nonetheless essential became complemented by the images of their marginal human equivalents. “An Empty Bench”, with a simple directness, objectivity and empathy that were both intimately touching and making one wonder what is really important, told about an aged, homeless woman living in Cubbon Park who disappears to be replaced by an old man. The viewer responded in particular to the mood of normalcy and unaffected respect of “Un-Claimed”, the film following the men who bury anonymous bodies in the city. Surekha attuned herself to the pulse of Bangalore in ordinary areas where people find quiet, sometimes strange, ways to cope with the tension of drastic transformations.

The computer installation suggested the framing of such warm nooks, some of the monitors playing her short pieces, like one about a small time eatery serving ragi balls or another where two flights of walls - with exposed houses under demolishing and solid ones painted in naively grand pictures - curve, diverge and contradict, yet echo. The artist’s almost brutal frankness and irony did not diminish her love for the place, as she layered the gradual staccato of spit on a public surface to turn into a painting of gestural abstraction.


EYE FOR ART

Source: Indian Express | 2.01.10

Visual artist Surekha had earlier held an exhibition of video-installation titled ‘Communing with Urban Heroines’ that highlighted the plight of the urbanized woman in Bangalore.
She is now showcasing her new video works ‘Un- Claimed and Other Urban F(r)ictions’ highlighting the unusual preoccupations of people who assign a specific personality to the city.
The video-art contains a different take on the city’s personality through such and other alternative ‘others’ and ‘different’ people’s vocation.
These people project a sense of belonging to the city that gave them a life. They propose a sense of self-dependence, an alternative mode of life preoccupation and a sense of restrain against the loss of individuation through global uniformity. Surekha contrived this video-installation after an interaction with the people, for a period of two years.
These videos are shown with an installation of E-resource, along with the idea of recycling leading to the possible sanity of the city and the notion of urban.
The video work is on display at Samuha — the artist initiative and collective, ADA Rangamandira, till January 8. Contact: 41516531.


Minimalist and the literal

Marta Jakimowicz
Source: Deccan Herald | 12.2009
Online at Deccan Herald >>

The eight young artists from Chennai at Blue Spade (December 4 to 24), some with clarity and some hesitantly, strive for contemporariness in their use of materials, form and concepts. Although to see all of them addressing time may be stretched, the best works in “Integrating the Times” do that indeed. Kumaresan painstakingly, but with lightness, piles up or merges volumes from ample, thin layers and spreads them separately on the flat, ably mediating abstraction, repetition of modules and the physicality of his substances. Also with a minimalist sensitivity that holds rawness, Suneel Sree follows the increasing corrosion of an iron plate and maps progression in space on and with series of rail tickets.

Reverberations of those processes can be sensed in Saravanan P and the rhythms of his white tree bark, also in Yuvaraj’s use of coarse wood and rusted metal. The inconsistently obvious and mannered figural sculptures by Kumaresan and Yuvaraj, however, make one wonder how authentic their ambitious pieces are. This oscillation from the abstracted-expressive and the literal is more evident in Aneesh’s drawings with pulsating multitudes of organic shapes and stylised human ones. More convincing, by comparison, prove the abstract, in a compact way painterly evocations of dense, dynamic surroundings by Guru Nathan. Sequential passage and atmospheric rhythms may be found in the abstracts of Suresh Kumar S and Suresh K P, but they excessively rely on Op Art precedents and Adimoolam’s kind of absorption of Abstract Expressionism


Art Talk

Marta Jakimowicz
Source: Deccan Herald | 22.08.2009
Online at Deccan Herald>> | Download Article >>

Subramani drawing Literal to metaphoric The new exhibition at Samuha (August 22 to September 8) makes one appreciate the slowly growing number of young artists who coming from modest, often provincial backgrounds, instead of jumping into ready, radical ways, reach out for their own contemporariness by starting from direct and involved observation of the immediate surroundings.

Subramani’s portraits depict his friends and people living in a village near Mysore registering the partly natural and partly eerie changes that are occurring in traditional rural life in the proximity of globalising urban phenomena.

Equipped with a fairly conventional education at Ken School, Bangalore, Subramani begins what it allows – academically literal portraits in charcoal on paper. Exposed frontally with the kind of passport photograph indifferent objectivity, they are carefully rendered in sharp detail, string contours and dark hatching and emphatic, plasticity-inducing tonalities. As such the images convey the naivety of the method and its use that simultaneously captures some of the naïve, un-pretended simplicity, roughness and raw energy of the subjects both as individuals and human types. The task is taken very personally, sincerely, with a quiet passion, and in certain cases the degree of slightly stylising over-stress acquires much intensity, while elements like shiny or starry eyes, floral meanders and moons around and behind the heads add to the sense of immersion in fantasy and aspiring.

The artist involved in theatre who signs his Kannada poems scribbles on the portraits half-English conversations with his friends. If many of these works are self-limited, sometimes the jerky layering of the languages, emotions and realities bring about a bolder metaphoric imagery which can be quite enchanting without losing its coarse, straight-in-the-face rooting. Here come the gently precise and rather lyrical hybrids of cultural metamorphosis. A beautiful girl with phantasmagorical multiple pupils has a hairdo of soft caterpillars - somewhat repulsive yet promising to turn into butterflies. Rustics in turbans and saris are entranced listening to walkman music. The best impact is achieved when Subramani lets himself go a bit wild but retains the actual with sharpness and delicacy and with some poetic humour while translucent colours accentuate and lift the drawing. This happens especially in the image of a punk-headed, athletic youth with a pickaxe.


Art Talk: Hybrid culture

Marta Jakimowicz
Source: Deccan Herald | 09.08.2009
Online at Deccan Herald>> | Download Article>>

The ‘Brand India’ paintings by Tonni, or Anthony Roche, at Samuha (ADA Rangamandira, 109, J C Road, opposite Ravindra Kalakshetra, August 8 to 20) conjure a disquietingly alluring spectacle of the composite urban youth culture in which popular western images mix with and layer traditional indigenous ones. Whereas most artists critiquing present reality use its visual-topical elements but stand outside, Tonni embraces its imagery whole-heartedly as a participant in order to from within speak about its deceptiveness, superficiality, perils and hidden agendas.

In tune with the freshness of the phenomenon being widely accepted and identified with, he evokes the joyous and somewhat naïve, uncritical enthusiasm of young people for globalising fashion, fast food and imported brands, icons and notions.

His aesthetic language relies on comic book, design and advertising styles which become inherently as well as loosely impregnated by qualities of the classical Indian stroke and decorative motifs. Thus, although one may associate these canvases with Pop Art, contrary to its seriousness, Tonni’s works are full of playful energy, mischievous humour and pun-loving subversive-ness. The main character and admitted self-portrait, Mickey Mouse comes here in a number of metamorphoses – as the Statue of Liberty, Superman, Cola-Mouse, L’Oreal’s Merlin Mouse or Mac Fighter. His wide-open, thrilled eyes protrude sideways like in ancient Indian paintings. While kathakali dancers wear superhero costumes and Kishangarh miniature Krishna and Radha have a Star Plus wedding on television, the attractiveness of the brilliant colours and vibrating line simultaneously yield excitement and irony, the dizzily enchanting smoothness of the merger hinting at superficiality, copycat identity, pretended virtues and commercial lies.

Throughout, the relishing of this new iconography remains permeated with indications of warning, as corporate logos clarify the witty twists of the images. With an ease equal to comic strip reading, the viewer guesses greed behind the Tatas’ liberalising Indian heritage and the armed belligerence supporting multinational banking even if it dresses in the moods of love and art history. If not all the works are as strong and formally cogent, the whole is bold, original, very engaged and relevant.


Bangalore artists launch make-shift, shared art gallery

Source: Udayavani | 25.08.2009
Online at Udayavani

Bangalore, August 25: The city artists have hit upon a novel idea and joined forces to launch a makeshift art gallery with common ownership for sharing and learning from peers and seniors.

"Samuha", a collective of art practitioners, was launched on Monday. The project involves artists of various disciplines, including painting, sculpture, new media arts and performance arts.

Driven by artists, 'Samuha' — from junior artists to eminent ones like S G Vasudev, Pushpamala and Sheila Gowda — would facilitate an art space that encourages contemporary artists to showcase their work and interact with local residents.

Artists of the collective would use this rental space to exhibit their own work as well as collaborate and curate works of art practitioners and peers.

The project would run for 365 days, which means its 20 members would each have 17 days at the space to use.

"Essentially every member commits to paying Rs 2000 per month for 12 months. This will enable them to own 17 days each at the creative common space," Suresh Kumar G, who initiated this project, along with Archana Prasad and Shivaprasad S, told.

The trio have been in dialogue with artists, art critics, art schools, gallery owners and curators here over the last seven months.

Added Archana Prasad, "Samuha is an autonomous collective. It is an artist-driven and artist-run initiative. Each artist-member is a time-share holder of the 'Samuha' space. Every member has ownership and rights within their time slot."

"Samuha is about self-reliance and self-promotion. It is about building a community of individuals who have a common desire — to share and learn from their peers, to explore and educate their public on art and its practices," she said.

At 'Samuha', there would be no hierarchies within the community. Artists, irrespective of their fame, seniority or discipline, share the same rights and powers at Samuha. They work in the same space with equal dignity.

On the inspiration behind the venture, Suresh Kumar said that artists were dependent on galleries for everything — infrastructure, assistance and facilitators.

"But with only a handful of galleries in the city, these spaces couldn't be held responsible or expected to launch every new artist from every type of discipline within visual culture," he said.

"I felt that there was a gap between the artists and gallery pathways. We needed a bridge between the ending of art school and the point at which an artist is prepared to be picked up by a gallery," Suresh Kumar said.

"We needed a self-sustaining system that would take you in, encourage you, enable you and deliver you to an audience. Young artists need to engage in this process to grow and explore their practices so that they would mature into proficient practitioners," he added.


Artists of Their Own

Source: Deccan Herald | 06.07.09
Online at Deccan Herald >> | Download Article >>

Despite the sign from Crimson there are few galleries in the City that welcome unconventional, not so saleable art, which has led to the already several years old Bangalore phenomenon of artists' own initiatives not rarely addressing public spaces and familiar since the time of “Sthanapuranagalu” and from the continuing efforts of Bar1 and 1Shanthi Road Studio/Gallery. The latest contribution - Samuha was started from artists' resources and conceived half-way between temporary event and long-term project. Its initiator and moving spirit is Suresh Kumar G whose endeavours span sculpture, multimedia installation, site-specific work often undertaken in his village, video and performance.

Located in a rented and rearranged space at the ADA Rangamandira (2nd floor, JC Road, opposite Town Hall), it will be available to member artists to work and regularly exhibit in. The aim is also to draw ordinary people from other walks of life, even enter normal, busy areas in the neighbourhood. Samuha was inaugurated on June 22, a part of the event being Suresh Kumar's ‘art intervention and performance’ which symbolically as well as factually represented his role and intentions. As photographs on the wall captured moments from transforming the rooms into a display hall, the artist, with humour and seriousness, in a literal and metaphoric manner, assumed the personality of Handyman and roamed around the friendly crowd with his little daughter. Dressed in an orange uniform of a municipal worker and a helmet, he was the practical facilitator behind Samuha paying his respect to the anonymous menial help who, hardly acknowledged, enables the comfort of the more fortunate. He is to assume other such garbs during the coming months, while his wearing a worker's uniform was preceded by a classical dance costume which underscore the wish to connect art with grass-root existence.


A space they can call their own

Source: The Hindu | 25.05.09
Online at The Hindu >> | Download Article >>

BANGALORE: The Samuha Artists Initiative Collective is perhaps the only one of its kind in the city.

A concept created by three young artists to empower the artist community without making them dependent on galleries, Samuha is an interesting way of approaching the question of artists’ space, literally and figuratively.

Samuha was launched by its members Suresh Kumar G., Archana Prasad and Shivaprasad at the ADA Rangamandira building here on Monday.

It has brought together 23 artists from the city so that they can showcase their work throughout the year and interact with the city’s residents as well.

“We reworked this unused office space to make it more conducive for art endeavours,” said Ms. Prasad.

The concept behind the initiative and collective is simple. The 1,250 sq. ft. space given to them by the ADA Rangamandira will be shared by the 23 artists and they will pay Rs. 2,000 a month for a year.

In lieu of this each of them will own the space for 17 days each, in which period they can choose to do whatever they want to do with it.

“Samuha is not about building institutions, so after 414 days, the collective will close down,” said Ms. Prasad at the launch, explaining that all the documented information of Samuha’s existence would be available to share, making this a replicable model for anyone else.

The member artists, including visual artists, painters and film-makers, will be free to use their space as they wish. To find out more log on to Samuha’s website http://samuha.wikidot.com.


BANGALORE ARTISTS LAUNCH MAKE-SHIFT GALLERY

Source: Saatchi Gallery, UK | 23.06.09
Online at Saatchi Gallery >> | Download Article >>

A group of artists from Bangalore have hit upon a novel idea and joined forces to launch a makeshift art gallery with common ownership for sharing and learning from peers and seniors. "Samuha", a collective of art practitioners, involves artists of various disciplines, including painting, sculpture, new media arts and performance arts.

Driven by artists suchas S G Vasudev, Pushpamala and Sheila Gowda, 'Samuha' will facilitate an art space that encourages contemporary artists to showcase their work and interact with local residents, according to a report in The Times of India. Artists of the collective will use this rental space to exhibit their own work as well as collaborate and curate works of art practitioners and peers. The project will run for 365 days, which means its 20 members will each have 17 days at the space to use.

"Essentially every member commits to paying Rs 2000 per month for 12 months. This will enable them to own 17 days each at the creative common space," Suresh Kumar G, who initiated this project, along with Archana Prasad and Shivaprasad S, said. The trio have been in dialogue with artists, art critics, art schools, gallery owners and curators here over the last seven months.

At 'Samuha', there would be no hierarchies within the community. Artists, irrespective of their fame, seniority or discipline, share the same rights and powers at Samuha. They work in the same space with equal dignity.

On the inspiration behind the venture, Suresh Kumar said that artists were dependent on galleries for everything — infrastructure, assistance and facilitators.

"But with only a handful of galleries in the city, these spaces couldn't be held responsible or expected to launch every new artist from every type of discipline within visual culture," he said.

"I felt that there was a gap between the artists and gallery pathways. We needed a bridge between the ending of art school and the point at which an artist is prepared to be picked up by a gallery," Suresh Kumar said.

"We needed a self-sustaining system that would take you in, encourage you, enable you and deliver you to an audience. Young artists need to engage in this process to grow and explore their practices so that they would mature into proficient practitioners," he added.


Bangalore artists launch make-shift, shared art gallery

Source: Times of India | 22 Jun 2009, 1446 hrs IST, PTI
Online at TOI >> | Download Article >>

BANGALORE: The city artists have hit upon a novel idea and joined forces to launch a makeshift art gallery with common ownership for sharing and
learning from peers and seniors.

"Samuha", a collective of art practitioners, was launched on Monday. The project involves artists of various disciplines, including painting, sculpture, new media arts and performance arts.

Driven by artists, 'Samuha' from junior artists to eminent ones like S G Vasudev, Pushpamala and Sheila Gowda, would facilitate an art space that encourages contemporary artists to showcase their work and interact with local residents.

Artists of the collective would use this rental space to exhibit their own work as well as collaborate and curate works of art practitioners and peers.

The project would run for 365 days, which means its 20 members would each have 17 days at the space to use.

"Essentially every member commits to paying Rs 2000 per month for 12 months. This will enable them to own 17 days each at the creative common space," Suresh Kumar G, who initiated this project, along with Archana Prasad and Shivaprasad S, said.

The trio have been in dialogue with artists, art critics, art schools, gallery owners and curators here over the last seven months.

Added Archana Prasad, "Samuha is an autonomous collective. It is an artist-driven and artist-run initiative. Each artist-member is a time-share holder of the 'Samuha' space. Every member has ownership and rights within their time slot."

"Samuha is about self-reliance and self-promotion. It is about building a community of individuals who have a common desire — to share and learn from their peers, to explore and educate their public on art and its practices," she said.

At 'Samuha', there would be no hierarchies within the community. Artists, irrespective of their fame, seniority or discipline, share the same rights and powers at Samuha. They work in the same space with equal dignity.

On the inspiration behind the venture, Suresh Kumar said that artists were dependent on galleries for everything — infrastructure, assistance and facilitators.

"But with only a handful of galleries in the city, these spaces couldn't be held responsible or expected to launch every new artist from every type of discipline within visual culture," he said.

"I felt that there was a gap between the artists and gallery pathways. We needed a bridge between the ending of art school and the point at which an artist is prepared to be picked up by a gallery," Suresh Kumar said.

"We needed a self-sustaining system that would take you in, encourage you, enable you and deliver you to an audience. Young artists need to engage in this process to grow and explore their practices so that they would mature into proficient practitioners," he added.


Space exploration

A new collective of city artists will have a corner of the ADA Rangamandira all to themselves, reports Margot Cohen

Source : Time Out Bengaluru | 13.06.09
Online at Time Out >> | Download Article >>

Relying on a dash of microfinance, a new collective of Bangalore artists has plunged into a year-long experiment on JC Road. For 17 days, each artist will be given free rein over 1,260 square feet of raw space. In turns, they can exhibit their own work, curate shows by other artists, offer live music, organise poetry slams, dabble in improv comedy, or simply switch off the lights and mutter to themselves.

“There are no rules, no boundaries, no limitations,” exulted Raghavendra Rao, one of the 20 artists participating in the collective Samuha, which will launch its makeshift gallery on Monday, June 22 at the ADA Rangamandira, across the road from Ravindra Kalakshetra. Actually, there will be a few no-no’s: visitors can’t smoke or eat non-vegetarian food on the premises, according to conditions set by the Amateur Dramatics Association, the benevolent landlord that is subsidising Samuha’s rent. Each artist in the collective has agreed to chip in Rs 2,000 per month, over the next 12 months, to bring the venue to life.

It’s hard to predict whether the initiative will evolve into a springboard for creativity, or an exercise in serial anarchy, or perhaps a bit of both. In any case, the birth of Samuha highlights a desire to make more opportunities available to a broader pool of artists in Bangalore – and move beyond some of the stilted encounters at gallery openings to a more freewheeling public exchange of ideas.
One of the prime movers behind Samuha is Suresh Kumar G, who was active in theatre before turning his attention to sculpture, video and performance art. “Bangalore has always had a history of artists being autonomous and independent,” he noted. “I wanted to rekindle this model.” Having taught in rural schools, the 35-year-old artist maintains a studio in Iggalur village and is keen on fostering an informal, grassroots vibe in the new gallery. Non-English speakers, art students and visitors from rural backgrounds will be welcome, along with more seasoned artists and collectors.

Artists will be free to sell their work directly to anyone who wants to buy. But the Samuha collective will not seek any commissions. “It’s not about money,” said Suresh. “It’s a concern for the next generation.”

Artists involved in Samuha range from recognised names like M Shanthamani, SG Vasudev and Sheela Gowda to relative newcomers such as Mangala AM, a 30-year-old artist raised in Davanagere. Mangala will take charge of the first 17-day slot, beginning on Wednesday, July 1, with a planned series of installations and performances. As for Rao, who teaches at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, he plans to curate a show later this year based on experimental work emerging at various art schools around the city.

“It’s a community-building exercise,” added Samuha member Archana Prasad, who is handling communications for the collective. That means building up contacts for artists who may be struggling to gain exposure and elicit feedback. The collective promises to churn out 200 printed invitations for each show, send out notices via email and invite reporters and art critics to turn up on a regular basis.

Still, the enthusiasm is not universal. Dozens of artists turned down Suresh’s invitation to join Samuha, partly out of concern that the logistics could prove too overwhelming. Over time, various Indian art collectives have risen up, fired with idealism, only to burn out on managerial and administrative details. Sustainability remains the Holy Grail.

By limiting their efforts to one year, however, the Samuha artists are optimistic about their capacity to stay the course. At this stage, they don’t seem terribly sensitive to criticism, either. “I don’t know how it’s going to end up,” said Rao. “It might bomb. I just find it extremely exciting.”

As a matter of principle, Samuha is not soliciting or accepting funds from donor agencies. Banging the drum of self-reliance, the artists are operating on a minimal budget. So far they have spent Rs 51,700 to renovate the space on JC Road. But they did decide to accept some donations “in kind” – including a few spare cushions in case anyone requires a highly artistic nap.

Third Floor, ADA Rangamandira, JC Road (No phone). www.samuha.in. Daily 11am-8pm. See Exhibitions in Art.


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