Friday, January 30, 2009

My College, My City and My State by Jagannath Panda

Jagannath Panda, Bhubaneswar 2008
Today the field of art has become so vast that medium is no longer a barrier for an artist. Now art is not limited to conventional art and craft. Contemporary artists are versatile. They are adept at every type of art including canvas painting, video art (narrative and non-narrative) and sculpture (stone, wood, fibre, glass, etc).But as far as opportunities for artists are concerned, the scenario is bleak in Orissa.

The government is least bothered about art students' future so talented artists cannot go abroad for higher studies. If you're a traditional artist, somehow you'll survive here but if you're a modern artist you won't. Serious practice of art is missing here which forces good artists to migrate to other cities.Like, after completing graduation from BK College of Art here in 1991, I studied post-graduation in fine arts in MS University, Baroda. Then I moved to Delhi in 1995 and started practicing as an artist. Then again I went to London in 2002 to pursue MA in Royal College of Art by achieving INLAKS foundation scholarship. After returning from UK, I set up my own studio in Gurgaon. Had such facilities been here I would have preferred to stay in Orissa. My dream is to develop Bhubaneswar as a global hub for artists where international-level artists would come and interact with local artists. When it comes to contemporary art and new research in the field, we need an up-to-date centre having a library and facilities for holding workshops and events here. Now I am trying to develop a state of the art studio in Bhubaneswar and hopefully it'll come up within next few years.

'Gandhi's ideas have always influenced my work. His phylosophy always gives me the opportunity to create works for society, I thought I would explore Gandhi's physicality and philosophy against contemporary, urban structures by juxtaposing Gandhian idealism or optimism with darker reality,' Jagannath Panda said.New Delhi has become a kind of place for artists from across the country and to work here is not only a challenge but also a privilege. Art is a very important segment. Artists contribute considerably for development of the aesthetic culture of a state. History says, governments or connoisseurs of art did always patronage artists.Times are changing, so also the mindset of people as well as government towards art. A case in point is beautification of Bhubaneswar. It shows the positive attitude of the government which has started giving priority to art and heritage. But we need to deal with such things delicately. Some serious intellectuals, architects, designers and artists should have been involved it, to make it a planned and better way like Bindusagar.But job opportunities for artists are very poor in Orissa. Small jobs like screen painting, design units and part-time jobs are only available. In the last quarter of 80's art teachers' posts were abolished. Lectureship is deemed to be the best job in our field but new colleges are not being set up and posts are not created, neither vacancies are filled up. Even if foreigners are visiting regularly Orissa only through this beautiful city Bhubaneswar and in the name of beautification people are just giving it a more and more ugly look, our city will say all about us, if a visitor comes from outside. That so we guys who are passed out from B.K.College have formed an oranigation named AlumniBKCAC. We all has a dream to bring our college, city and state in national and global platform regularly.We are planed out some initial projects , one can find by browsing

There are six to seven art colleges in Orissa, out of which only two are government. There is not a single art university here, I will never admit this culture university as an university. I have abashed when visited it recently, nothing is there to claim as an university. Existing colleges need to be upgraded, global model should be adopted in art education. Facilities, infrastructure should be upgraded in art institutions. Time to time evaluation should be done to improve curriculum. Aesthetic art, architecture, design and craft should be properly presented. Serious institutions should be there to promote local art and craft. Local aesthetics, local culture should be taught to students at school-level. School students should be imbibed these things.The government should give a serious look into this in view of the fact that demand is rising in the field and more students are opting for art as a career.

Jagannath Panda is an alumni of BKCAC and he is working as
Vice President in organization.



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