Anjolie Ela Menon, a noted contemporary artist, on Tuesday expressed her anger over a Vadodara gallery’s claim to have sold her work for just Rs 10,000 in a bid to promote young artists, this October. Menon was in Ahmedabad to attend the Nari Shakti Awards ceremony, a part of the tribute show by Jasu Shilpi Art Foundation in the memory of sculptor Jasu Shilpi who died in January.
When asked about the two paintings of hers, which were sold for Rs 10,000 each at Sarjan art gallery in Vadodara, she said, “They were not paintings and I am going to sue the gallery. They were just prints! When I rang the gallery, I said I am going to see you in the court and then they apologised. Also, I don’t think the prints were even signed, though the gallery said they were. I have no recollections of giving them any print. I said, how dare you tell the press that they were paintings.”
The Sarjan gallery had hosted an exhibition titled “Mandi”, where upcoming artists’ works were showcased alongside works of masters like K G Subramanyan, Bhupen Khakar, Anjolie Ela Menon and Atul Dodiya. Hitesh Rana, who runs the gallery, had told the IE then, that the idea behind the exhibition was to provoke people to buy works of junior artists and famous artists for low prices. Rana had sold what he claimed to be Menon’s work for Rs 10,000.
However, despite several attempts, Rana couldn’t be contacted in this regard. Menon, who says that she met Jasuben Shilpi 3-4 years ago when Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was searching for sculptors for expanding their panel, remembers her cooking a meal for her. “It was so surreal walking amidst those huge, gigantic sculptures made by her. She was a small feisty woman who was so tough,” Menon said. She sculpted most of the statues in Gujarat’s public places.
According to Menon, the art market has not recovered from the recession and the scenario is bad for young artists. “Only a few will be able to reach at the top who would manage to sell their work. There are so many of artists now! When I was young, there were just 200-300 of us painting in India. Now there are lakhs of them. The reason is in the last 40 years, many art schools spew about 2,000-3,000 artists every year. Very few make it big. So I feel very sad for the youngsters coming out of art colleges because I’m not quite sure where the future is for them,” she said.
Original link: http://epaper.indianexpress.com/c/2114782
Published by The Indian Express, Ahmedabad (Late City edition) on December 11, 2013.