Saturday, August 18, 2007

A forum for 51

It was another first as far as Madras Week was concerned. Forty-five emerging and established artists, four photographers and two cartoonists, all living and practising their craft in Chennai, had samples of their work showcased under one roof – the Forum Art Gallery in Padmanabha Nagar, Adyar. It must have been a special day for the couple, Shalini and Biswajit, one an artist, the other a cartoonist. For, they were the hosts (Shalini runs Forum). But I have a feeling that Mr Muthiah had a hand in engineering the show, encouraging the duo to chip in with their bit for Madras Week.

N. Sankar, Sanmar chief, who was instrumental in keeping Madras Musings afloat when it almost seemed ready to fold up some years ago and who has been one of the pillars of Chennai Heritage, inaugurated the show. He said he did not wish to pretend to be a connoisseur of the arts, but, yes, he did indeed like what he saw on display. That perhaps summed up the general impression of the people who had gathered – more than a hundred.

The displays were on three floors. I for one thought that it would have been better if there was some sort of classification – photographs on the ground floor, paintings and sculptures on the first, and cartoons on the third. Two pictures particularly caught my eye – one of the tsunami waves ebbing off the Marina, and another of the backs of six children walking in tow, orphans after the natural disaster. Photographer Raghunathan had shot both pictures. Great stuff!

Then there was coffee, vada and pastry, but hardly any room to savour all that. The best you could do was to get your cup of coffee and walk upstairs. Most of the crowd preferred to remain on the ground floor, though, where there was little elbow room to move about.

Traffic on Padmanabha Road! Well! With part of the road dug up, and vehicles moving both ways, the question as you approached Forum was: where do you park? Vehicles of the guests took up most of the lane space; some didn’t really care and parked their vehicles on the side of the road. That threw traffic totally out of gear. I was fortunate to find some space for my vehicle in one of the lanes.

I must say I like Biswajit’s cartoons on coffee cups. And were the captions on them by Ranjitha Ashok? I think these will sell well if sold through some of the better-known outlets in Chennai. Biswajit should give some serious thought to it.

The Forum show goes on till September 18. So, catch up, if you want to.

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