What draws a few thousand people to the three-day CIMA Art Mela? Suchandra Banerjee, a “former sales officer”, summed it up best. “For me, a painting by Ganesh Haloi or Atin Basak is not always an affordable choice but I wouldn’t mind splurging if I can pick up an original instead of a print, often costing nearly the same. Or something that looks delightful, so what if it’s by an artist I just learnt about!” said the enthusiast at CIMA Gallery on Saturday.
There were many like Banerjee who browsed and bought their way through Day Two of the Art Mela, with an air of anticipation.
College teachers and bank officials bought their first original artwork, connoisseurs added to their collection, couples picked up items to liven up their homes and some just went by “the sheer visual appeal” on the walls.
Decorative aspiration figured high on the priority list as young couples hunted for pieces to do up their new home and older ones to try and revitalise their walls.
Then there were focused buyers like Lolita Roy looking for “Madhubani or Patchitra paintings to go with the rest of the Indian décor” of her house or a mother-daughter duo who came with a definite “theme in mind”. The mother explained, “On this particular occasion, we wanted a painting with three women to fit into our family pattern. It could be my mother, my daughter and me or it could be my daughter, my granddaughter and me.” And no, it didn’t take long for her to spot the three women in watercolours by Nikhil Ranjan Pal. “I think it suits our requirement perfectly.”
The browse-and-buy-friendly air about CIMA at the Art Mela also seems to spark such an interest in art that apart from an obvious appetite for the masters, most visitors actively seek out new artists with an impressive “body of work” or simply for their “niche effect”.
Some of the popular picks on Saturday included a range of works by Satyajit Roy, Dolonchapa Ganguly, Anirban Ghosh, Rajamohan Das, Partha Pratim Deb and Sumitro Basak.
So what worked for some of these young and contemporary artists? “Pop art and unique graphic prints as well as traditional forms with quirky twists,” pointed out those manning the Mela walls.
“People’s exposure to the world is going through a big phase of transition and they want artwork which is a nice blend of the eastern and western, in a way something one can call international,” felt Pratiti Sarkar, the chief administrator of CIMA.
CIMA Art Mela is on from 11am to 8pm on Sunday