Prominent gallerists from the city share how they are upping their game and how virtual interaction will help physical art galleries sustain instead of shutting down. Irfan Sahir, who started Soul Spice Art Gallery in Mylapore along with A Senthil Kumar, says, “Most of the artists have their websites and social media pages through which they interact with people. They also sell artwork through these platforms. This has made the art galleries to come up with new strategies to stay in this field. Thankfully, we have some regular clients who buy art pieces from us. They are the ones who keep our venture running. Though our gallery is open now, art connoisseurs are not visiting us like earlier. We hope that things will be back to normal in the coming months.”
He believes that going virtual is one of the best ways for art galleries to sustain. “After the lockdown, a few art enthusiasts have started virtual art galleries to support artists. So, the competition is strong now. We cannot predict anything; we don’t know how people perceive art in the future,” he says.
Sarala Banerjee, the founder of Artworld Sarala’s Art Centre, organised a Lockdown Series art show in March to raise funds for paramedical staff. “Soon after the lockdown, we started doing virtual group art shows. We need to have a strong virtual presence to interact with our patrons. So, every 10-15 days, we hosted an online exhibition of works done by upcoming artists. This way, budding artists are getting a chance to showcase their work. After the Lockdown art series, we are now doing the Unlock series. In September, we organised a workshop called Local Art Festival where artists from the city came together and painted and discussed art,” Sarala tells DT Next.
Since its inception as an art gallery in the city, the Forum Art Gallery has a strong online presence. “We have always reached out to people and engaged with our clients through our website. So, we didn’t find it hard to connect with our patrons virtually. People can browse the artworks from our digital catalog and then later purchase from the gallery,” says Shalini Biswajit, owner of Forum Art Gallery.