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Bhubaneshwar Art Trail: A Unique Public Art Exhibition in India

Bhubaneshwar Art Trail: A Unique Public Art Exhibition in India

by Shruthi Venkatesh November 22 2018, 4:15 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 48 secs

Bhubaneshwar is a beautiful city set in the Indian state of Orissa. It is well-known as the ‘Temple City’ of the country. On the 18th of this month, the city kick-started, with a grand inauguration, it’s first Bhubaneshwar Art Trail (BAT) in honour of the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup. The tournament being its 14th edition is scheduled to be held from 28 November to 16 December 2018, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Bhubaneswar Art Trail 2018 at Guajhara Compound of Old Town last Sunday.

Artist Niroj Satpathy at work for BAT (edexlive)

The month-long event along 1.3-km stretch of the Old Town in Odisha capital would showcase artworks by artists from all over the world. It includes several events that explore the underlying curatorial theme of BAT 2018 – ‘Navigation is Offline’. Using public art as an important vector, the Bhubaneshwar Art Trail is an attempt to map the collective journey in the formation of a city by navigating through personal memories and learned knowledge. This public art exhibition will also feature various outreach activities which will activate the cultural spaces of Bhubaneswar. These include a one-day colloquium with prominent artists, curators and art writers; film festival by National Film Archive of India; various talks by prominent film makers, writers, historians; hands-on art workshop for children by Art 1st Foundation; eco-printing workshop, and various classical and folk performances.

Artist Cécile Beau working on her piece (edexlive)

Speaking on the occasion, BAT curator Jagannath Panda said that the initiative is no mean task. “When you are working on a space like Old Town, which has so many layers of history manifested through architecture, monuments, walls, ponds, lakes, gardens and residential areas, it also becomes a responsibility. Our challenge was that how better could we represent and respond to this space and its community,” he said. The curator further said that “the art trail is an expression of the Old Town and its people. This is how each community-based art project should evolve. It should be committed to excellent art making but it should also be dedicated to the possibilities of inspiring a vision for the community. That is why we are not limiting the trail to an exhibition,” he added.

The project is an initiative by the Utsha Foundation for Contemporary Art in collaboration with Odisha Tourism, Bhubaneswar Development Authority, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, and Bhubaneswar Smart City Ltd. “We have planned out various outreach programmes throughout the month as part of the Trail. Both of us curators strongly believe that Bhubaneswar Art Trail should become an active platform for the exchange of ideas, deliberations, and learning,” says BAT curator Premjish Achari.

The gathering will have artists like Ramahari Jena, Veejayant Dash, Pratul Dash, Gigi Scaria, Sudarshan Shetty, Sharmila Samant, Arunkumar HG, Markus Baenziger, Cecile Beau, Ramakant Samantaray, Sailen Routray, Smrutikanta Rout, Pratap Jena, Subrat Behera Kumar, Suchismita Mohanty Ram, Niroj Satpathy, Samarjeet Behera, Satyabhama Majhi, architects Sayantan Maitra and Sibananda Bhol, Teja Gavankar, Arnika Ahldag, textile designer Pankaja Sethi, and many others from India and abroad. They have made their mark in contemporary art through significant artistic interventions and participations in many reputed international biennales and exhibitions.

Some of the artists such as Markus Baenziger, Sharmila Samant and Gigi Scaria are art educators too who are teaching art in universities and they have been participating in the best exhibitions across the world. Arunkumar HG, Cecile Beau, Sudarshan Shetty, etc. are also highly renowned artists who have made their mark in the international level. Among them, Artist Cécile Beau is one of the most eminent and inventive, contributing to the discovery of other realities, perceptions and scales. Her work embraces scientific discoveries, such as those by Kepler a key figure of the 17th scientific revolution, which embrace immensity, peculiarity and the insignificance of human beings all at the same time. Artist Niroj Satpathy will give a presentation and talk about his artistic practice, and share his thoughts about the BAT. He will also interact with other artists, students and the audience.

“BAT 2018 provides a wonderful opportunity for artists to explore the beautiful old town of Bhubaneswar. It is heart-warming for me to see such an amazing congregation of contemporary artists. It is going to be a unique public art exhibition in India, which will take art closer to the communities,” said Jagannath Panda and Premjish Achari, artists and curators of BAT 2018.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.