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Today’s global economic crisis (GEC) which has hit hardest most developed countries, and whose economic experts are trying hard to rectify it, are results of the sub-prime financial debacle and the near collapse of the United States of America automotive industry.

The governments of most affected countries managed to quickly and decisively avert an immediate global economic meltdown, by using stop-gap measures of huge financial bail-outs to avert an economic slow-down. But this was at the cost of the real effects of the GEC being felt in the near future. In essence, these governments took over the financial responsibilities of temporary funding economic growth.

The question that one should ask is where did the government get the massive funding to plug the black-holes in their economies? The answer is they went to the printing press and printed fresh currency which they used to inject into their economies, in order to fill up the black-holes.

These measures brought some form of short-term relief to these economies by averting massive industry closures, high unemployment and most importantly an economic depression.  But it’s well known in economic circles that such measures always come with a hidden cost, printing currency to stimulate an economy can only bring short-term relief.
Today the results of such measures are just starting to be felt, with a steady rise in unemployment, company closures, credit crunch and property fore-closures. In essence these economies are going through a period of economic slow-downs or stagnation, better known as recession.

These symptoms are just the beginning of what is still come, and that is inflation. At the moment those with a general understanding of economics have started to take precautious measures to ride the tide of tough times that are set to come, by hedging their wealth and or savings against inflation by investing in art or gold.
That should explain why prices of art and gold have been achieving record prices.If one opens up the business section of any newspaper, one will read about record prices that gold is fetching in the markets , what is driving these record prices is the fact that many investors are liquidating their currency holdings and are investing in what has always been a safe-haven against inflation that being gold.

The reason why gold is regarded a safe hedge against inflation, is because of its scarcity, just like true art-works. The only known time that gold prices have been low was during the period when many central banks in developed countries opted to dispose the bulk of their gold reserves.

For one to fully understand the current events occurring in the global economy and to have reliable information to choose investment options in order to ring-fence themselves against the effects of the GEC soon to come, one must understand how the current currency system works.

Historically countries currencies were backed by what was known as “the gold standard,” this meant that the real value of every dollar printed by a central bank was backed by gold reserves held by the central bank. This meant that a central bank could not print currency above the value of gold held in their possession. In 1971 the then United States of America president Richard Nixon ended the international gold standard. The gold standard system is a monetary system where currency backed by gold, that is to say, the currency simply represents the gold that you own and can be converted into fixed quantities of gold freely.

From 1971 up to 1973 the Smithsonian agreement was passed pegging world currencies to the USA dollar rather than gold as a fixed exchange. In 1973 the Basel accord established the current floating exchange of currency rates we use today, called the fiat currency system. In Fiat currency system money is not backed by a physical commodity, instead its value is based on its relative scarcity and faith placed in it by people use it.

However, when people loose faith or confidence in the money, it irreversibly becomes worthless , regardless of its scarcity Initially a rapid growth in availability of credit is often mistaken for economic growth, as spending and business profits grow rapidly, and a rapid growth in equity prices. In essence as there are no real control measures to prevent the over-printing of currency in a Fiat system, a fake illusion of well-being and prosperity is created when in reality people are actually digging themselves a deep hole.

In the long run the economy tends to suffer much more by following contraction than it gained from the expansion in credit. In plain English, the economy starts shrinking. Hence the reason why some economies are now witnessing massive job losses, company closures and property fore-closures. When an economy reaches this stage, the next stage is the terminal effects of printing currency in Fiat system that of hyper-inflation.Hyper-inflation is the terminal stage of any Fiat currency, which occurs when money looses its value practically overnight. It is often the result of increasing regular inflation to the point where all confidence in money is lost, life savings are wiped out overnight and prices rise faster than people’s incomes.

Current financial instability has brought about lots of talk about international financial reform, and even return to the gold standard as proposed by some. The gold standard stands in contrast to Fiat currency which has no intrinsic value, but governments declare it to be legal tender, meaning it must be accepted as a means of exchange. One of the main benefits of the gold standard is that it protects citizens from hyper-inflation and debasing of the currency through excessive government spending. With a fiat currency, a government can print as much new money as it likes spending, which leads to a gradual decline in value of currency and citizens’ savings. Under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as protector of an economy stability and balanced growth.

In the absence of the gold standard there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. Russia and China have suggested the establishment of a super-sovereign currency, while Brazil and India have suggested substituting other assets for their dollar holdings. Currently the U.S.A and China are embroiled in a currency dispute over the value of the Yuan. The U.S.A is claiming that the Yuan is under-valued, giving China an advantage over the U.S.A in global trade markets, as Chinese exports are deemed to be cheaper than the U.S.A. The currency stand-off between China and the USA seems to have no end in sight as under a Fiat currency system, any powerful economic country can determine the value of their own currency to ensure no set system or measures can determine the value of their currency. What is inevitable is many countries are to go through a phase of hyper-inflation and the Fiat monetary system will eventually die a natural death, and be replaced by the gold standard system.

The question one must ask them self is, if the wealthy investors are hoarding onto gold bullion’s and if currencies will be backed by the gold standard in the near future, then how does art come into the equation as a safe hedge against inflation? Firstly before one considers investing in gold they must understand that they need deep pockets, as a kilo bullion bar is currently trading at $45 000. Even after parting with such a huge sum, one must realise they can’t keep a $45 000 gold bullion bar under their bed, so monthly storage charges must be taken into consideration. Historically art has always been the alternative to gold.

During the period of high hyper-inflation in Germany which occurred after the First World War those who had invested in art came through that period better off, as the return on their investment in art-works out-performed investments in options that were available during that period. Most importantly art managed to beat the extremely high inflation rate, which would explain why so many art-works were looted during the Second World War.

As an alternative investment to gold, art has over years proven to be a real solid investment. With these uncertain economic times that we are in, its time to seriously consider your future by taking prudent pre-cautions to ring yourself against the effects of the current economic upheavals and events that are soon to come. In times of economic instabilities you are better off investing in art or gold.

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world’s most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists, we became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India 2008, 09 Mumbai and India Art Summit 2008 New Delhi.

Art Expo 2009 in Mumbai played the role of developing the art market by creating a venue for promoting Indian art.Following close on the heels of the hugely successful India Art Summit held in Delhi, came our very own Art Expo ‘09 at the Nehru Centre in Mumbai from 25-27 September, an event that brought about mixed emotions to begin with, but as the programme entered it’s second day, the murmurs seemed to subside in intensity and at the conclusion, all participants and visitors should have come away a satisfied lot.

An amiable platform to acquaint oneself with the art world, meet new friends, re-establish old ties, it is hoped that the Expo will be broader-based to attract a larger cross section of the art community in the years to come. Surely, the art hub of India can and should match strides with the very best.

Considered among the major events on the country’s art calendar, the second edition of AEI served as the most comprehensive congregation of art collectors, museum directors, critics, art historians, art fund managers and corporate decision makers from across the globe. The fair, a showcase of the very best in Modern & Contemporary art, acted as a flash point, to ignite interest in contemporary Indian art. Stung by global recession and economic crisis, AEI could not have come at a better time, playing the role of a catalyst to revive the art scene.

The central theme was emerging contemporary Indian art and the relationship it shares with the international art scene. There’s no doubt about the fact that India’s art scene has acquired center stage globally. Though Indian art has been in existence for centuries, its impact on the larger international canvas has been rather limited. However, things are now fast changing as witnessed at the expo that was a vibrant reflection of the country’s myriad art trends, encompassing sociopolitical, religious and historical developments.

Some of India’s biggest and best-known galleries featured at the expo. These included Apparao Galleries, Chennai; ICIA, Sakshi, Gallery BMB, Gallery Beyond, The Arts Trust, Art Musings, Priyasri Art Gallery, Pink Ginger Arts (all Mumbai); Latitude 28, Marigold Fine Art, Ashok Art Gallery, Ojas Art, Indian Art Ideas, Gurgaon Art Centre, Dhoomimal Gallery, Bajaj Capital Art House, Progressive Art Gallery, Art Inc., Wonderwall (all New Delhi); Ishka, Cochin; Sara Arakkal, Bangalore; and Kalakriti, Hyderabad. Among the international galleries were Jolrong.com (Singapore/Bangladesh); Galerie ArtSeefeld, Switzerland; Gallery Archana, Malaysia, and 1×1 Art Gallery, Dubai.

Renowned curator-collector Mrs. Kay Saatchi inaugurated the event. The keynote address delivered by her dwelt upon the theme of spotting young talent and building up an art collection. In fact, a major highlight of the event was a series of freewheeling conversations with some of the luminaries of the international art world, comprising Mallika Sagar Advani, Anjolie Ela Menon. Dr. Alka Pande, Jitish Kallat, Ranjit Hoskote, Bose Krishnamachari, Shantanu Poredi, Brian Brown, Sharan Apparao, Menaka Kumari-Shah, Abhay Sardesai and Kirsty Ogg. Themes like buying art in recessionary times; ‘Art in Life: the ‘Daily Pleasure of Collecting’; ‘The aesthetics of the erotic’; (X)topia: A Search for Place, A Place for Search’; Everything is Art; and ‘Indian Art in an International Perspective’ were debated, evoking spontaneous responses and a round of rapid fire questions from the engrossed audience.

Mention also must be made of a mini-retrospective at AEI, which was arranged as a small tribute to S. H. Raza and his dedication to art. The legendary artist has remarked: “I have lived fully, and (always) worked with passion and intensity both as a painter and thinker. It needed 30 years for me to master the art of painting before I arrived at a personal style.” The show encapsulated the spirit of his art practice.

Nehru Centre in Mumbai might not be frequented by art connoisseurs but last weekend over 20,000 enthusiasts were visited the venue to view artwork from 30 galleries around the world at Art Expo India. “It’s a forum that allows viewers to look at a collection that is representative,” says Vickram Sethi, chairman of the three-day fair. He adds, “Entering galleries could be intimidating and a forum like this helps initiate new people into the world art.” young participation by Ashok Art Gallery has got a spectacular response on both visitors and sale, it was almost crowded all three days. their collections includes masters like C.S.Rao, seniors like Baladev Moharatha, cutting edge like Pratul Dash and new talent Pradosh Swain, Sajal Patra and Kanta Kishore were hot favorite amongst all.The event spread over three day brought immense sense of satisfaction and achievement to its organizer Vickram Sethi, who has been involved in art for close to two decades and has witnessed the dramatic evolution of Indian art scene. The Arts Trust was set up by him in 1990 with a long-term vision of promoting Indian contemporary art, which was just gaining in prominence at that time. The Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA) was a logical extension of his vision of becoming the best source for quality work by both the distinguished and emerging Indian artists.

Having had his own art gallery, he had valuable first-hand experience of the difference between the art markets in India and outside. He realized that the three challenges to the Indian art market were an unorganized art market, limited collectors and buyers and international exposure, interlinking and affecting each other. He felt the need for a consolidated resource within India for its art scene hence he launched the Art Expo last year.

Harping on the bright future of Indian art and artists as reflected at AEI, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan of The National, a leading UAE based publication, wrote: “Walking through the expo, it’s hard to imagine that there’s a global economic crisis. If anything, the canvases were larger and more obviously bright than in previous years, the sculptures and installation pieces held pride of place, and the new generation was holding down the fort.”

Echoing the sentiments, Mr. Sethi expressed confidence about the bright prospects and potential of contemporary Indian art. He added, “The Indian market is in a very nascent stage compared to the international art markets. However, it’s only a matter of time before it grows at a rapid pace.” Art Expo India 2009 was a significant step forward in this highly fulfilling, rewarding and enriching journey, searching for new, meaningful expression of creativity.
Art Expo India this year has showcased artists like Picasso , Ganit Blechnr, Souza, Raza, Ram Kumar, Krishna, Khanna, Nalini Malni, Anjoli Ela Menon,Arpana Caur, C.S.Rao, Suryakant Lokhande, Jagannath Mohapatra, Akbar Padamsee, Chirag Patel, Jogen Choudhary, Alok Bal, Kanta Kishore Moharana, Sajal Patra, Baladev Moharatha, Pradosh Swain, Somanath Raut, Pratap Jena, Amna Ilyas, Gadadhar Ojha, Manas Ranjan Jena and Ajay Mohanty, items, including pieces by artists of the country to see many masterful art works of both Indian Masters and Younger Artists.

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world’s most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists, became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India Mumbai and India Art Summit New Delhi.

Any work of art for that matter has certain ideas to deliver, but this seems to have engaged the viewer with more than one implication. Initially aimed at presenting the environmental issue, that is one of the phenomena, quite clearly depicted by many artists of the present day. It is uniformly received by the politicians, sociologists, scientists and artists as well. ‘The habitation in nature’ an exhibition showing Pradosh Swain’s recent works at Ashok Art Gallery.

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Concrete Demon illustrates a typical and unusual scene, amazing and interesting too. The manuscript unfolds to release Lord Rama with his attributes, bow and arrow, to kill the concrete mixture that is commonly seen at the construction sites. It has several layers of implication: dwelling between tradition and modern, oppression and liberty, nature and environmental hazard, mobility and stillness and so on. It presents a feeling of awareness and concern.

Rama, the maryada purusha, as he is commonly known and we believe had a genuine understanding of nature as he lived his significant part of life within nature, interacting with various aspects and adopting several laws of natural world. He is seen liberating the self to take on the direct fight once again with the demonic form (concrete mixture = Ravana) to bring back peace to the mankind unaware of the fact that in this corrupt world, what wins is not the environment but the brokers of nature, while the sufferer is entire world.

In the present day, Rama has become the source of inspiration to many; politically, environmentally, culturally, as people have conveniently adopted him. Now he has been reduced to a manuscript as an abode, cultivating the nature within the parameters of palm leaf. A simple narration that recreates the Rama in Odissi Pata painting form and symbolically covering him with the foliage, to relate nature in him; palm leaf as a major and popular medium in Orissan traditional art is placed intelligently to show the manuscript and a horrifying background depicting the uncertainty of human life. The composition is poised with intellectual input and social awareness.

The world is changing and also the attitude of man. Travel is part of human being’s life. With every passing day more and more information regarding the destinations are reaching us motivating us to explore the new area of substance. Reasons of such moves are many, ranging form family holidays to corporate leisure. Many natural sites are revisited and new sites introduced to us. We move from place to place encroaching the nature’s domain and without even being careful. Often we ignorantly spoil the nature and sometimes become more adventurous in misusing the resources. This has resulted in the natural devastation and we can feel the heat of global warming all through the globe. We have started paying the price for someone else’s fault. Towards Wind seems to present before us the nature that is supposed to nurture us, our lives and motivate our minds, inspire us to face new challenges, has now started throwing new challenges to us pointing its protection and expecting a little compassion and love for itself. We have reached a pitiable condition, where no road leads ahead.

A time would arrive when we would need a fan painted with nature (allegorical) in a hill top (station) to satisfy us from heat. The extent, as the artist has pointed, might go up to reaching near to the fan blades to occupy the most of air the fan delivers. The message is clear and loud, save it (nature) to be a part of it or stay alone to die hard.

The cities are now developing fast and at a disagreeable pace. The requirement of man is getting wider day by day. To achieve these desires one makes compromises with the nature, its habitants and the balance. We have significantly converted the animal’s bay purposefully to suit our ideals. So every other day we hear news about tiger creeping in to village and start shouting about the facing new danger. Rationally we have threatened their habitation in nature. The spread of the cities never care about the essential ‘other’. Fisher in Metro is just about that. In the image showing the kingfisher (namesake) sitting on a basket ball net (replacing the tree branches) and concentrating on a swimming pool (replacing the village pond), which is temporarily set on a spatula (showing its position), while a young woman is diving into the pool. This visual narrates the reality; of how the cities are facing structural conversion everyday, the danger of scarcity facing us today and its horrifying future and similar struggle.

Pradosh Swain has attempted global issues in simplest and readable visual term. What interests me is his concern about nature and its protection in order to avoid the Global Warming. ‘The message is not new’, as he explains, ‘and it is not educating too. I just paint to define my understanding of the subject’. He adds, ‘much has been spoken and delivered visually by the NGOs and similar volunteer organisations to mass through electronic and print media. But artist has his own creative view point that sometimes visualises the imagined future’. Let us not make big promises that are difficult to keep but small acts that are easy to follow in order to upkeep our environment. Is someone practising! Pradosh Swain works and live in Delhi, India.

On the panel of speakers Art Expo India 2009

On the panel of speakers Art Expo India 2009


After a very successful run last year, the Art Expo India 2009 is back with a bang! The show this year is bigger than ever with several prominent international personalities, keynote speakers, art consultants and dealers from around the world. Last year’s Exhibition was a major success. Some of the prominent galleries to feature their collections were The Arts Trust and The Osmosis Gallery (Mumbai), Arushi Arts and Ashok Art Gallery (New Delhi), Kalakriti Art Gallery (Hyderabad), Eca Emamichisel Art (Kolkata) and Marvel Art Gallery (Ahmadabad). The Exhibition was attended by luminaries of both the Art and the Corporate world, all united in their common appreciation for Indian Art. Tanya and Arvind Dubash, Pheroja and Jamshyd Godrej, Nancy and Ranjit Hoskote, Niranjan Hiranandani, Kumaramangalam Birla, Yash Birla, Bina and Talat Aziz, and Poonam Dhillon were some of the high profile visitors..
Art Expo India 2009 is a high profile meeting ground for art dealers, galleries, artists and prospective buyers. This exhibition will play a catalytic role in building the art market in India. It is a high end shopping event presenting a wide array of works by famous and upcoming Indian artists. Publishers, dealers, gallery owners and artists will proudly display art in various styles using popular media – from paintings and sculpture to prints and photography.

The exhibition holds the largest gathering of art professionals in India and is the only place where one can meet thousands of new customers on a one-to-one basis. New exhibitors can kick start their businesses and create profitable long-term relationships, making it the meeting ground for art dealers, galleries, artists and prospective buyers.
Visitors will include art collectors, connassiours, architects and interior designers, buyers and corporate decision makers. These important visitors will be specially invited to attend the show. At least 20,000 quality visitors are expected.

On the panel of speakers is the internationally renowned art curator Kay Saatchi. She began her art career as a Director of the Mayor Rowan Gallery, London; moving on to be the Contemporary Director of Waddington Galleries, London. In partnership with her ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, she co-curated over 34 exhibitions for the Saatchi Collection between l987 and 2001, including the ‘Sensation’ exhibition show at the Royal Academy, London; Kunsthalle, Berlin and the Brooklyn Museum, New York. In 2003, as Travel Editor of ArtReview, she wrote about emerging art markets in Mumbai, Havana, Morocco, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa and also covered an Antony Gormley installation in Australia’s outback, and Sydney and Perth. In 2003 she wrote text for the book ‘British Artists at Work’. She is the Founding Director of the ‘Artists & Collectors Exchange’ a program to promote young artists. In 2007 and 2008 she curated ‘ANTICIPATION’, an exhibition of the best of emerging artists from London’s art colleges. With years of experience behind her, Mrs. Saatchi’s keynote address on spotting young talent and building up an art collection will be insightful as well as entertaining.

The Art Expo India 2009 will be held on September 25th, 26th and 27th this year, at Nehru Center, Worli, Mumbai from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

ArtExpo India 2009 Organisers:
Trade & Technology Exposition Co. (India) Pvt. Ltd. was established in 1987 as an exhibition organising company and several events on different themes have been organized by them. Their flagship exhibition is GIFTEX which is now in its 22nd year. With over 70 Trade Shows to their credit Trade & Technology have the experience, the ability and the understanding of the art market as well. The organisation is headed by Mr. Vickram Sethi and has a support team that specialises in setting up trade events.
Mr. Vickram Sethi is a major player in the Indian art market since 1988. Currently the owner of a large gallery, an auction house and an active art portal. He has tremendous domain knowledge of the art market and his experience in the trade show business will ensure success of the ART EXPO INDIA 2009.

For more information please contact:
Aarti Aggarwal at Communiqué Public Relations
022-6610 0304 / 66518061 visit web: http://www.artexpoindia.in

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world’s most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists.
Last year we became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India 2008 Mumbai and India Art Summit 2008 New Delhi.

Ashok Art Gallery's public art project 2009

Ashok Art Gallery's public art project 2009

Ashok Art Gallery launches its most awaited Public Art Project on Global Warming As said, the major cause of global warming is the emission of green house gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide etc into the atmosphere. Gasoline Causing Global WarmingThe major source of carbon dioxide is the power plants. These power plants emit large amounts of carbon dioxide produced from burning of fossil fuels for the purpose of electricity generation. About twenty percent of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere comes from burning of gasoline in the engines of the vehicles. This is true for most of the developed countries. Buildings, both commercial and residential represent a larger source of global warming pollution than cars and trucks.Building of these structures require a lot of fuel to be burnt which emits a large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Methane is more than 20 times as effectual as CO2 at entrapping heat in the atmosphere. Methane is obtained from resources such as rice paddies, bovine flatulence, bacteria in bogs and fossil fuel manufacture. When fields are flooded, anaerobic situation build up and the organic matter in the soil decays, releasing methane to the atmosphere. The main sources of nitrous oxide include nylon and nitric acid production, cars with catalytic converters, the use of fertilizers in agriculture and the burning of organic matter. Another cause of global warming is deforestation that is caused by cutting and burning of forests for the purpose of residence and industrialization.
SABDA-RUPA, the seven dimensionsan exhibition of Drawings, Paintings, Digitals and Installations by artists of Ashok Art Gallery, Delhi and seven members of Coffie House Creative Corner, Old Bus Stand, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India on 3rd May 2009 at mostly crowded Old Bus Stand Area, Bhubaneswar curatted by Ashok Nayak and artists participated baladev moharatha(chitradev), kantakishore moharana, manas moharana, somanath raut, smruti sai mishra and six members of CHCC including its secretary Suresh Balabantaray who are professional writers but expressed their feelings in form of paintings drawings and digitals. Coffee House Creative Corner was initiated with the slogan ” all creativity rolled in to one “. It is not only the literary creations but the visual creations and the preforming creations has intermingled here to cater the readers and viewers. This time seven members are participating in Ashok Art Gallery, Delhi’s Public Art Project, ” SABDA-RUPA the seven dimentions, it is an open air public art exhibition on global warming and all the artists are expressing their feeling on its cause, effect and prevention. This exhibition is planning to be held at most crowded old bus stand area of capital city Bhubaneswar, Orissa India. It is a noble effort jointly by Ashok Art Gallery, Delhi and Coffee House Creative Corner, Old Bus Stand, Bhubaneswar, Orissa to aware public and serve the globe, Mr. Balabantaray said.
This Public Art project has some intresting displays like Kanta Kishore’s Fibre made cow eating clothes symbolised the unatural behaviour which tends to the cause of global warming , Manas Moharana’s reverse umbrella downed by a fress youthful plant which has given message as prevention of global warming causing by deforestations, while Smruti Sai Mishra’s installation of tolls used for making buildings with garbage indicates the rapid urbanization which has a major role in global warming and most intrestingly Somanath Raut’s a prime head placed on top of gathered chairs shows how we are running behind comfort without thinking about society. This show was innugurated by senior most oriya jurnalist Mr. Dandapani Mishra where senior artist Asim Basu and eminent writer Das Benhur were guest of honour.

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world’s most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists. Last year we became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India 2008 Mumbai and India Art Summit 2008 New Delhi.

Orissa is a land of multiple cultures ranging from folk to tradition to music and dance forms and many more. The visual art has been strong at the traditional level while modern contemporary art is striving for a place in cultural space. The fact that Orissa has two recognized art colleges with valuable exponents but due to the misplaced understanding at the local level, the entire environment is affected. The contemporary artists have taken their stand to propagate artistic issues since long, at least for last fifty years. But the expositions are limited to the artists rather than getting closer to the social community. The problem seems to be lying with the communicating values. The state non-cooperation and their limitations to foresee the present and future of the arts have taken disseminating position. Blame game is a strong culture that persists in the sphere by choice or otherwise. While taking stock of the matter, it seems as if one is addressing the politics in art. That is very much by chance, while the fact is no one would like to project a negative perspective of the communication, at least in a time when information technology has taken over the virtual space of interaction and art has become a substantial part of it. Well the artists have been trying to cap issues that are very much relevant and social. The present artists have somehow tried to create a positive feeling by coming together on singular platform to present their art with concern.

Art unfolds and the artists are approaching new avenues to interact. This time its the turn of many young and dynamic artists pulled together to exhibit in the Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra, Bhubaneswar. The group show was organized by the Ashok Art gallery (an International art gallery) operating from New Delhi promoting the art and artists. This is for the first time the young and budding artists and people of Orissa are privileged to view few international artists like Ruth Olivar Millan (USA) Thea Walstra (The Nederlands) Amna Ilyas (Pakistan). The show was scheduled between 27th February and 5th March 2009. Many artists those including the Orissan Master Chandrasekhar Rao, Baladev Moharatha, young reputed artists like Jagannath Panda Pratul Dash, Ramakanta Samantaray, Adwaita Gadanayak, Sitikanta Pattnaik, Pradosh Swain, Subash Pujhari, Manas Ranjan Jena and several others. Among the national artists are Dharmendra Rathore, Hukumlal Verma, Ramesh Tardal , Vinod Manwani, Indu Tripathy, Sanjoy Bose those have placed themselves in the global platform also joined the show.

For last couple of months the art scene of Orissa seems to have upgraded its activities to keep pace with the time and need. City’s art calendar has seldom been so active.Several exhibitions, Film Shows, camps and symposiums have been organised up to update the young artists with the latest global developments. This exposition truly reflected the global ideology while representing the local. This can mean one thing. Bhubaneswar is fast growing as a metropolis, said Minati Singh of TOI. The signs are quite clear and the trend of the art market has been growing over the past few year. A good number of artists and art aficionado have got into a habit of visiting art galleries have also come up to hold exhibitions in the city with an aim to popularizes love for art and create an art market. The rationale behind these exhibitions is to bring the potential of these local artists under one roof, alongside some of the noted artists of the state. This exhibition will help market the works of these small-time artists. Speaking about the camps, Ashok Nayak from New-Delhi based Ashok Art Gallery says, “earlier art camps were organized only by Lalit Kala Akademi. Since the AKademi has its own limitation, other organisations have started top take initiative to place the artists under one roof through camps and other similar events”.

The gallery organized this international exhibition of more than a hundred art works by eighty four artists comprising of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and installations here on Friday at the Lalit Kala Akademi. “There is demand for genuine artworks and the buyers are choosing to invest in art. They are searching for fresh venues to explore the right art and therefore, we must organize regular art shows, camps and exhibitions so that chances are created for the better selection,” Mr. Nayak said. In this exhibition, he added, “we brought artists both renowned and aspiring, from all over the world so that the creative gap is lessened. Most of these have dealt with issues of major political and social concerns. Adding to the flavor of the exhibition the corporate houses have offered their patronage to the event. “Patronage is essential to the growth of art. Now the time has come when the government should invest in the growth of public art and earmark some fund for it. A growing city like Bhubaneswar has all essential facilities for it. The corporate houses and other private sector should join hand to make the difference feel to the citizens of this city”, said Ashok. Kanta Kishore Moharana, another artist said,” I am not worried about selling my sculptures. I want people to just come and have look at my creations so that they get a feel of them. The new trend has come up these days to combine sculptures with other from of art in a single item. So I tried to mingle them with my sculpture.”

“Art has never known boundaries. It just captures viewer’s attention through colours, images and expressions, each work saying something different and important. The mystique nature of contemporary art comes alive in the work of Nederland based artist Thea Walstra’s brush work on canvas showing a looped bright light in vermillion shades as in Sajal Patra’s acrylic work where a woman stands in front of a locked door. Pratul Dash’s water cololur on paper brilliantly brings out a scene of crowd while Tapan Dash has used dry pastel on paper to produce a thought provoking face. Sculptor Biswaranjan Kar has shown his efficiency in painting, again based on his continuing work on Olive Ridley turtles”, a city based Art Critic Namita Panda said.

Exhibited at the international art exhibition of painting, drawing, sculptures, photographs, and installations these paintings stood alongside almost a hundred more of similar brilliance artists like Amna Ilyas from Pakistan, Ruth Olivar Millan, Adwaita Gadnayak, Gauranga Bariki, Sitikanta Patnaik, Jagannath Panda, Pratul Dash, Tapan Dash, Gadadhar Ojha and growing ones like Pratap Jena, Ajay Mohanty, Somanath Raut, Manas Moharana, Subash Pujhari and Kanta Kishore Moharana.

The art tradition in Orissa is so very strong that artists adapt the visual elements with subtle changes to suit contemporary makeover. In the case of Ajay Mohanty, one could easily consider these remains. They have emerged with subtle aesthetic layers with focus on the compositional patter. Stylistically different though but the gestures and colour have strong reference points. The only deviation perhaps is that of the space treatment and that make it visual strong and appealing. The present form of Anup has travelled long beyond Bihania and the transformation has remarkably shown up. The synchronization of the butterfly, the mystery and the illusory impact of the veil underlines the invisible face with intelligent symbolic. Gadadhar Ojha’s Sans Titre holds the clue to the textural adventure and the space arrangement. The marble images refer to the Indian concept of bindu and vistara, a concept that deal with the centre and the periphery. The coordination that necessarily speak of the relationship in interface: the globe and the India, the local and global and its likes. Hukumlal Verma’s image is a simple play of colours and its definition in overlapping pattern.

Indian contemporary art has now started evolving new paradigms and several artists have been relocating themselves in the present context. The boundaries of the mediums are intelligently merged and meaningfully redefined to engage in artistic creativity. Emotion and expression are charged with intellectual input into and outside the civilisational aspect. Jagannath Panda is such an artist who has overcome the restraint of time and space with the medium. Environment and human relationship gets attached to the expressive medium. The overlapping planes represent timeless narrative with the man calculating the journey through its triangular device locating its existence. It seems to be an endless calculation in the background. The triangle shows the past , present and future coinciding to the three angles and the human race to achieve all in one go, finally failing to synchronise the ends. The compartment below derives the sky and its relational value to the upper segment. Pratul has sensitively arranged a human-scape with photo-dynamic. The composition seem to have a sense of social congregation. He might be nostalgic with the terror strikes in Mumbai and initiates the unique oneness of the subcontinent. Tapan continues to draw with his mask(y) faces with layers of personality hidden within one self. This reality has surfaced with the racial competition to win over the world, every one individual trying to over do the other and justify the presence. This could also hint at a psychological value of human existence. Pradosh Swain has semantically drawn the earth through the bird image; upper part of the image beautifully interprets the sky with the runway at the background merging to the vistas, while the lower part reflects the dry land beginning to beg its fate looking at the past (which might have just saved its life). It is a sensitively created piece referring to the misbalance caused by human to nature.

Ruth is different and direct, creating a equilibrium between form and affection, of desire and achievement. The simple expression of the child and the mother is derived from life and diligently put forward on the canvas. And Shekh Hifzul is narrative in his form and composition, decorating the image with subtle rendering of designs and trying out mythical representation with a wing (?). In this couple, male has the wings of desire and freedom remaining at the upper band while the female share its presence delicately supporting the figure. Thea Walstra speaks about the laser interactive rays those radiate to unite and spread around like dvani (sound), glowing into the cosmic sphere merging into the air and bringing back the sound to the ears, with the same transparency and layers.

There has been huge footfall and the viewership has widened to family people and youngsters too now. In fact many of the displayed works were bought as well. The weeklong exhibition that concluded on 5th March 2009 also included a work by the immortal art guru Chandrasekhar Rao and present master Baladev Moharatha. Though too huge for a viewer to absorb all the creations properly, almost every form of the art was present at Lalit Kala Akademi Regional Centre. One could easily find his interest as a number of subjects like environment, nature, society, beauty, spirituality, culture, and many more were included in various media like metal, wood, marble, fibre, rock in sculpture and pastel, acrylic, mixed media, water colour, graphic in paintings. This exhibition is a venture projecting the insider and the outsider to and from the subcontinent and more so in Orissa it would definitely make sense as they all bring different vocabulary on one platform. Ashok Art Gallery has done this in Delhi before and now presenting this to the Orissa audience, and hopefully they will cater to the creative desire of the young state art forum. What we need is reasonable spirit and appreciation of the art situation today, because we live in the present and need to keep pace with time. More such exhibitions will expose us to the global happenings. This first exhibition of its kind will definitely work as a catalyst for future.

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world’s most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists.Last year we became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India 2008 Mumbai and India Art Summit 2008 New Delhi.

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