Stalwarts from the field of fashion, art and culture speak to DT Next about the trends they expect in 2021.
The performing art environment is a huge eco-system and so, when the stage lights went out, it was not just the performers who lost work; the resulting darkness enveloped an entire arts habitat. In my living memory, this was the first time that the Margazhi season was shut down and the NRI traffic ceased completely, and this impact has been felt on the entire arts-eco-sphere including restaurants, shopping, and travel. I hope this has highlighted one significant fact — that the artists are not dispensable accessories to the society, but they are like the fabled ‘Goose that laid the Golden Egg’!
The 10-month physical confinement of the past year has been like a gestation period for humanity as a whole as if nature enclosed us in a womb so that we may reflect, reinvent, reimagine and reincarnate our personal and artistic selves. The ensuing re-birth has strengthened us with new-found ease with technology, awareness of our impact on the environment, learning to maintain a work-life equilibrium, and a determined human-resiliency. It is the reverberation of this resurrection that we will see in 2021.
Of course, the new year is not going to automatically bring on the stage lights, nor the crowds, the enthusiasm or the hugs. But, I am delighted that the playing field has been levelled, by placing the divas and the young artists all in the same boat. Together, the artist-community has reimagined divergent performance opportunities and created novel ways of reaching newer audiences. ‘Zoom’ing across continents with discussions, learning, sharing, teaching and disseminating knowledge, artists have had to learn tech-savvy ways to not only present their artform but represent it eloquently. These will reshape the arts-landscape forever.
It is from the cocoon that the butterfly emerges. So also, from 2020 the year of challenge, emerges 2021 — the year of ‘change and metamorphosis’, and real ‘change’ happens not outside of us, but in our ‘imagination’.
— Ramaa Bharadvaj, Dancer-choreographer, storyteller, writer and performance-curator
Virtual art events, classes will continue in 2021
In the past, digital art was only pursued by a few city artists. But the year 2020 saw all the artists using the digital medium to propagate their work and connect with people. I think that trend will continue this year as well. That said, I don’t feel that the physical experience of viewing art can or should be replaced by digital exhibitions. Both are different. In 2020, we saw a lot of webinars, online interactions, virtual classes and workshops. I was even part of an online art camp that saw participants from various parts of the world. The digital medium has helped local, international artists and art enthusiasts to interact virtually. That was something new to many artists. I think in 2021, both physical and digital mediums will support each other. Also, digital media will be explored in ways to create art and also provide support to physical art. Virtual art camps was a good discovery and I wanted that trend to stay. Economically also it is more feasible and encourages the concept of sharing. But it does not mean that you should stop hosting physical events.
Many artists had to cancel their exhibitions because of the pandemic. They have got enough time to work on their artwork. So, when things are back to normal in 2021, we can expect some interesting works. Overall, our economy is down and it is going to affect the art market as well. I wish people come forward to support struggling artists. This is the best time to support artists and make the whole art landscape more vibrant. Unlike other countries, we don’t have an art council or body where we can apply for funds or support art projects. It is up to the individual to try and support artists.
This year, art galleries are also going to change their mode of operation. You might have to book in advance to see art exhibitions. There will be more artist-audience interactions.
— Parvathi Nayar, Artist
Customers will make mindful fashion choices
The fashion industry is going to change hugely in 2021. People are going to be mindful when it comes to shopping from a store or buying clothes online. The pandemic has put a lot of thought in our minds as to what exactly we need and how much we need. So, when a person buys clothes, there is going to be a question in his/her mind as to what exactly are they buying and at what cost. And when I say cost, it means what our shopping habits costing the environment. The whole learning last year was to make positive changes in our daily lives. Not only in fashion, be it in any field.
If there is a huge demand from the consumers for eco-friendly clothing, designers and brands will definitely come up with sustainable clothing. Consumers might start questioning the fashion industry and we can expect sustainable fashion practices in 2021.
— Vijayalakshmi Nachiar, Fashion designer