At this mandai, there is something for everybody: From beautiful & affordable art to fruits and vegetableshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/mandai-pune-budhwar-peth-fruits-artisans-5554469/

At this mandai, there is something for everybody: From beautiful & affordable art to fruits and vegetables

Under the unique concept, currently in its fourth year, the Art Mandai will be set up by artistes at the Mahatma Phule Mandai in Shukrawar Peth, where artistes and vegetable vendors will set up wares alongside each other.

At this mandai, there is something for everybody:  From beautiful & affordable art to fruits and vegetables
The sale of oranges is at its peak, as the fruit arrives in large quantities in the Mahatma Phule Market in Budhwar Peth. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

This Republic Day, residents of Pune will get a rare opportunity to purchase some exceptional artwork at affordable prices, as several senior artistes will come together to display their work at the Mandai in Pune, where they will sell art for less than Rs 1,500 a piece. The exercise is aimed to make art accessible to all.

Under the unique concept, currently in its fourth year, the Art Mandai will be set up by artistes at the Mahatma Phule Mandai in Shukrawar Peth, where artistes and vegetable vendors will set up wares alongside each other. While some stalls will sell vegetables, fruits and groceries, others will have paintings, sculpture and ceramic pieces on sale.

Gauri Gandhi, one of the organisers of the Art Mandai, said the main purpose of the event was to connect the common man to the art in a public space. “It takes the elitism away from art by bringing it out of the galleries and into a public market… we want to excite people about buying art and owning it. It starts a relationship between art and the common people, and engages the latter in conversations which can’t happen when art is only thought of as something that remains as part of exhibitions or biennales or workshops. Bringing it to a public marketplace and making art affordable is important because we believe that the relationship with art starts when a person owns a piece of art, “ she said.

Many senior artistes from the city are part of the organising committee of the Art Mandai, which has put together a group of 26 artistes including painters, sculptors, ceramists, mixed media artistes and even some performance artistes, who will display their work.

“The price of the artwork starts from as low as Rs 10, up to a maximum of Rs 1,500… Also, even though the artwork is not expensive, artistes won’t compromise on quality because at the end of the day, it carries our signature. The idea is that every household should hold at least one original artwork for people to cherish,” said Indranil Garai, another artist and curator.

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Besides selling artworks, artistes will also interact with the audience in workshops and during discussions on art. The event will also include some performances. About 50 per cent of proceeds from the Art Mandai sale goes to a social cause. “This year, we plan to install a filtered and pure drinking water station in the premises of the Mahatma Phule Mandai for the public, and especially for the stall owners and vegetable vendors at the market,” said Gandhi.