In the room the women come and go,

Talking of Michaelangelo. 

― T.S. Eliot

The sight of ‘Artists’, grossly overweight, in designer clothes, attending art shows, sipping cocktails… talking in gibberish English, everyday of the year!

Sometimes I do miss that sight?!!

Who are these people crowding the art scene? They don’t smell of turpentine or linseed oil… their hands are clean and perfumed… Not the kind which has prepared clay or has ever picked up the chisel and hammer to sculpt…

Once upon a time an artist had a face, one could recognise― a face and a body evolved and tempered by his work. Now these bunch of sissies look they have come straight from the hairdresser to attend an Indian wedding!!

So who are these jokers?

These are actually members of a club!! A club meant only for the phonies, fakes and the pretentious… going around in disguise of artists, curators, art gallery owners, art critics, art connoisseurs, celebrities, pretentious buyers and collectors… they corner most part of the pie.. from government aids in form of scholarships, to getting lucrative art projects and large commission based works viz. murals, designing pavilions in trade shows, state sponsored art projects, art books etc. to shows around the world and getting gallery bookings (in public galleries) without waiting in the queue etc. They are visible on page 3 of daily newspapers or on TV, and they are regularly invited to attain art shows…

This leaves the rest, the ones who had talent, went to art college with real interest in art and have been working in their respective fields sincerely, to struggle on…

Art and artists have their share of problems… from non-artist pretending to be artist, hogging the lime light and the real talent getting sidelined; gallery owners duping young upcoming artists and art-critics writing praises for a bottle of whisky.. we have faced it all.. and continue to..

These self-appointed artists are so well-connected and entrenched in the society that they can easily get gallery bookings, get the media to advertise and most importantly influence the potential buyers into buying works from their curated shows.. and in return pocket a cut from the sale!! Some of these curators seeing the immense sale from art shows these days in India have now started to paint!! It is not difficult.. splash ‘the-quick-drying-acrylic-paint’ on large canvases.. get them framed well.. title the show with a bombastic name, write an incomprehensible account of the works on the catalogue.. hold mammoth a show..and you are a celebrity painter with everyone singing praises of your work and talent!! You have sold all your works at an exuberant price!! And next year the Government will take notice of ‘your talent’ and may buy some of your works for their Museums or Government offices etc. or send you to some foreign land for an art show!! You will heard telling all and sundry that you are ‘an unique combination of being the first certified art curator of India and an artist’!!

I think the Internet has finally given ‘us’ a chance, a voice and a means to showcase our works and survive without selling our soul. We must utilize this medium and fight back… for we have nothing to lose but everything to gain by exposing these bunch of phonies, fakes and the pretentious.

Art can also be a medium of protest for just causes… Cartoons: Art of Protest… ideally who else, but an artist can do that well?!!  And artists can lead the society to a better life.. art can show the mirror image of the society we live in…

The cartoon has been reproduced here with the kind permission of © Manoj Kureel

We, the artist community face problems like any other.. Artists are part of the society and their participation in it is vital.. And in the present socio-economic condition of the world one shouldn’t be only attending art openings wearing designer wear and sipping wine!!