Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Times of India : Hues of India

Amrita Batra
[16 Apr, 2007 l 0336 hrs ISTlTIMES NEWS NETWORK]

It is commonly believed that in India, the appreciation of art is restricted to a select few who can afford to appreciate it.

No doubt, the ability to adorn one's walls with a piece of art is an expensive proposition and most often figures nowhere in the common Indian's list of things-to-do.

And yet, in the present day, one finds art shows and exhibits, promoting both, the young and renowned, increasingly grabbing the limelight, leaving one to wonder: is Indian art finally taking centrestage?

"The burgeoning Indian economy is causing such an increase in the value of Indian art that art prices in the country have risen drastically," explains Sangita Jindal, art aficionado and publisher, Art India magazine.

Her belief is seconded by renowned fine artist, Brinda Chudasama who believes, "The art market in India has been growing consistently over the past five years, and has particularly galloped ahead in the last two years."

Sangita Jindal

Reiterating the growing market value of art, Jindal points out, "Today, the return from investment of the right art fetches higher returns than even gold."She cites the example of an artist whose paintings two years ago, were valued at Rs 40,000 and today, fetch Rs 20 to 30 lakh per piece, clearly demonstrating the magic that a piece of art can create.

Then, one might speculate that if the art market is able to sustain its growth, it may lead to the realisation that art is indeed an investment that comes with a promise of great returns. While art already enjoys the reputation of being an esteemed investment world-over, in India, few understand the concept of buying art as an investment for the future even today.

Given this promising depiction, should aspiring and talented art students pursue a career in art, traditionally considered a risky and expensive proposition? Experts are divided in their opinion, citing equally relevant pros and cons of making the decision, suggesting that a flourishing art market may not translate into a lucrative career just yet.

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