Leaving the heartland of Bengal, art lover’s paradise Kolkata, shift to business hub Ludhiana was not an easy one for this couple three years back.
“The city lacks taste for good art, almost nil,” says Varun Khanna, working in automobile parts manufacturing company. However, seeing the couple’s taste for art and deep insight to bring handpicked classic masterpieces from selected artists all over India to Ludhiana- anyone can mistake them for being artists themselves.
“We are not artists. It is because of our long connect in our homeland Kolkata that has brought that love for art since childhood. Passion for art runs in the DNA of Kolkatans the way butter chicken does in Punjabis here,” laughs Khanna, who with his wife Natasha launched an online painting gallery —The Banyan Art Gallery— in the city on Friday.
The paintings can be seen, purchased and inquired for on the website. Almost 57 carefully picked artworks ranging from oil, acrylics, ink as medium on canvass to abstracts, figurative, textures and numerous other art styles are also on display at Raddison Blu till Saturday.
Bringing artists from states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata, Assam, Maharashtra, Punjab etc was not an easy task. “The only motive was to bring some art culture in Ludhiana. We went to many galleries after shifting here but the quality, that essence which was there in artworks in Kolkata was missing,” said the couple. ‘A Moment in Ice Cream Parlor’, an artwork by Rakesh Singh from Rajasthan spilled a magical affect on canvass under abstract category while artist Banga from Assam specializes in making enlarged portrayal of his characters. “No one can imagine fat Radha-Krishna but Banga can. He makes fat look beautiful,” says Khanna.
Ananda Das from Kolkata paints serene ghats of Benaras in all his paintings while Ram Ratan Das, also from Kolkata makes Krishna and Buddha- as one body, one soul.
It is Dhiren Saswal’s minutely created artwork using black ink, pencil and pastels that attracted all. “Saswal takes six months to complete one work and he calls it doodling with black ink,” said Khanna.
Priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 1.50 lakh, the step has been a deliberate one to bring art galleries to the city. “We have been working on concept of online gallery since two years and finally it has worked,” said Natasha.