The Chairman / Curator
Venkatappa Art Gallery/Museum
15th April 2009
Sub: Proposal for using the Venkatappa Gallery/ Museum Outdoor Premises for the Art Activities of Samuha – Bangalore Artist Initiative.
We are a collective of 28 practicing Bangalore artists and would like to propose to your organization, the community art project that we plan to execute in Bangalore. This project involves artists of various disciplines including painting, sculpture, new media arts and performance arts. We intend to construct and use a temporary space for a specific duration. Artists of our collective would use this space to exhibit their own work as well as curate work of art students, junior artists and fellow artists. There will be a minimum of 25 exhibitions in the time span of 500 days. Additionally we will invite guest speakers and performance artists to present their work.
Suresh Kumar G, who initiated this project, has been in dialog with artists, art critics, gallery owners and curators in Bangalore over the last few months. The art community has expressed the necessity of artist driven initiatives of this nature. We have also been in close communication with under-privileged public communities who we feel have no real access to contemporary art created by Bangalore artists. The Venkatappa Art Gallery/Museum being a one-of-a-kind and prestigious exemplary public facility for the city, we hope and trust that you will lend your support and encouragement to us.
The Venkatappa Art Gallery/Museum premises will be ideal for this project. Not only is it centrally located and with a deep connection to the city’s historical spaces, it also has the agenda to create a vibrant connection with the city’s’ residents and touring visitors from various parts of the country. If given a space on your premises, we would construct and use it not just for exhibitions, but also for public interactions through talks, film-screenings and lectures by eminent guest artists, critics, writers and film-makers.
Bangalore being the capital for IT as well as new media art, Samuha has within its program agenda a strong connection to the IT professional and creative community. In fact, a significant portion of the space will be dedicated to providing facilities for creative IT people to interact with artists and create interesting digital art-work. Being located next to Vishveshwariaiah Science Museum the location for such an endeavor would be ideally housed on your premises.
Being an unfunded, small collective comprising of both senior and junior artists, we have a limited budget. We would be delighted if Venkatappa Art Gallery/Museum will encourage and support this endeavor by giving us permission to use the empty land area. At the outset we would like to assure your committee that if granted the space, no damage or misuse of the premises would occur. In fact, we will be happy to take on the construction, repairs and basic fittings work at our own expense.
In closing, we hope that you and your esteemed institution will partner with us in creating a thriving and vibrant art community that is easily accessible to the public in Bangalore.
Suresh Kumar G, Archana Prasad
& Shivaprasad S
[On Behalf of Samuha]
Intended Use of the Space
The members in the collective are visual artists engaged with various art practices from painting, sculpture, installation and performance art to new media art (video, photo, film, sound and digital arts). The members would use the space to construct a temporary structure that will enable them to use it in innovative and unrestricted ways to best display their work.
The display space will be equally shared by the 28 artists who are members of this collective. Each member will have the use of the space for 17 days in which to curate or display work of their choice. This period includes the time for putting up and bringing down their exhibits. Additionally we will have a space that is meant for IT and artist community interactions which will be open through the day.
In essence this means that every 17th day the fabricated gallery space will have a formal exhibition opening. The public visitors of Venkatappa Art Gallery/Museum as well as students of various schools and colleges of Bangalore will be invited to these events. The collective has a very comprehensive mailing list including art critics, students, patrons and enthusiasts. Using both electronic media and print media we will keep in touch with are members and supporters to invite them for all the shows. We hope to keep the gallery open till 9 pm to allow working people to access the shows.
We are more than happy to discuss the details of the use of the premises in terms working hours and management issues so that both with the Venkatappa Art Gallery/Museum authorities and ours are comfortable with the outcome.
ABOUT SAMUHA - AN ARTIST INITIATIVE & COLLECTIVE
From the beginning Samuha was meant to be an autonomous project. Samuha 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
It is about self-reliance and self-promotion. It is about building a community of individuals who share a common desire – to share and learn from their peers, to explore and educate their public.
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.
Its partnerships are limited to its members. Artist-members can individually source or seek grants for their own work or for aspects of the collective space. But Samuha will not attempt to gain a grant or fund as a collective.
Samuha is not about building institutions. It aims to remain a free body and is envisioned as a research art-work. The knowledge gained in the process of envisioning, creating, driving and delivering this work is its true contribution.
Our agenda is to enable the community to use and expand on our work so that more and more such collectives and community driven programs can happen. We hope that we will create a prototype that can be replicated and re-invented to suit various initiatives in the future. We are a free body that will run only for as long as its members own their specific time-slots of 18 days per member. At the end of that period, Samuha will only exist as an experiment in the past and a potential model for others to carry into the future.
We secretly hope that this prototype will be used in variations across the state so that art can permeate into smaller towns too.
Funding for Samuha
Samuha will remain un-funded – this is its conscious decision. It is meant to be owned in the truest and most basic (money) sense by the participating artists. Why? This is because, for one thing Samuha does not want the responsibility of the objects that will remain as residue at the end of this idea. Also, it does not want to be a curator. The artists who are part of Samuha are here because they are willing to contribute monetarily and ideologically to it. For Eg. The base space is something that will come from the monetary contributions of each artist. Samuha will not take a place that is above the cost of what we can, as a community afford, even though the possibility of funding for that may exist.
[Arranged in alphabetical order]
Bhartesh D Yadav
M. C. Ramesh
M. S. Umesh
Nani & Co.
S. G. Vasudev
Suresh Kumar G
Temporary Architecture & Technology Collaborators:
Urbanology, Meeta Jai, Sibanand Bhol & Freeman Murray