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Soil, soul, sensitivity–visual delights and artistic insights from the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath exhibitions

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 640 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Karnataka Chitakala Parishath was host to two recent exhibitions by artists Puneeth Mohan and Krishnachari Hassan. In this photo essay, we capture some of the pictorial highlights and artistic insights. See also our coverage of the earlier exhibitions Chitra Santhe, Moghi’s Tales, Team Yuva Collective, Aadipaaya, and Print India Biennale.

Puneeth Mohan

“Art means everything to me – reflection of life as well as exploration of the soul. It’s not just art, it’s my heart,” explains artist-designer Puneeth Mohan in a chat with YourStory.

He describes his style as a fusion of observation, experiments, personal experiences, and daily practice. “Whatever I think more of, I try to paint on canvas,” he says.

Puneeth also sees mistakes and failures as part of the artistic journey. “I believe an artist should make mistakes a hundred times. Each mistake will lead to improvement, and the 101st will be a masterpiece,” he describes.

“As a full-time artist, failure is a big strength for me. I believe that once we feel we have achieved something or are satisfied with our painting, that’s the end of artistic creativity. Failure makes me move on and I keep on doing new works,” Puneeth affirms.

His artistic journey began right from his school days when he took part in a group exhibition at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in 2010. “I decided to do a solo exhibition before I turned 18 – and I did so, with 51 paintings,” he proudly recalls.

Since then, Puneeth has had several solo and group exhibitions, including at World Art Dubai. “In my journey, my parents, brothers, friends and teachers’ support play a major role,” he acknowledges.

He sees success through continued internal exploration, as well as awards and sales. “If some stranger feels happy by seeing my painting, that’s the biggest success for me,” he describes.

Puneeth works as an art teacher in a school and also does storyboards for Kannada movies. Other activities include art direction in movies and wall paintings for restaurants. His paintings are priced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

“The pandemic did not affect my work. I painted more during the pandemic period, my family took care of me. I just paint, paint and paint,” Puneeth says.

As for art appreciation, he advises audiences to just feel the art. “Try to enjoy art by seeing it. Painting is not just a showpiece,” he adds. Audiences should also purchase artwork and request more.

He offers tips for aspiring artists as well. “Do not stop painting for any reason. Paint to make your soul happy, not just to impress others. We are creators,” Puneeth sums up.

Krishnachari Hassan

The diversity of soil and its importance for all life on the planet were some of the themes in the exhibition Roots of Soil. It was conceived and presented by Krishnachari Hassan, an artist who has an MVA from MMK College of Visual Art, Kalaburgi.

He has been exhibiting from 2004 onwards, at exhibitions and festivals in Mysuru, Hassan, Bengaluru, and Kalaburgi. Krishnachari has also taken part in art camps in Shivamogga, Vijayapura, and Indore.

Some of the paintings and installations reflect the colours of nature, metaphors of nurturing and prosperity, and seeds of growth. Krishnachari’s works reflect his inspiration by immersion in nature.

Some artworks are thematically grouped in clusters. The centrepiece is a collection of bowls of diverse soil samples. The exhibits invite viewers to see beneath the surface of the earth, and appreciate the bounty that nature has bestowed on us by sustaining plant and animal life.

The artworks also remind us to be respectful of nature, and reduce chemical and industrial waste. The message of environmental conservation and protection is aptly conveyed.

In sum, the exhibition is an artistic blend of creativity and consciousness.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?

Puneeth Mohan

Krishnachari Hassan

(All exhibition photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the exhibitions.)

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Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti