Artist Reveals How The Education System Fails India’s Art Culture

Posted by Rana Ashish Singh in Art, Culture-Vulture
June 6, 2017

Aadit Basu has many talents. He is a photographer, installation artist, author, blogger, and illustrator. His works were among the ones to be displayed at “Desi Canvas”. In an email conversation, I try to understand the artist Aadit Basu.

Ashish: What is the story behind you becoming an artist?

Aadit Basu (AB): I have always felt an insatiable urge to create something on my own, be it in the realm of writing, photography or installations. I felt the need for an outlet through which I could channel my feelings.

Ashish: What inspires you to put your energy into art?

AB: I have always felt that good ideas and creation of good art always happen very sporadically. There are some very intricate and intangible elements at play here and that is what makes art very interesting to me. You cannot create good art just because you want to create it. There needs to be an equal proportions of hard work, focus, providence, and above all, the power of comprehension. Every day you get up and create something and it probably won’t be good enough, but there will be one day when magic happens and that makes it all worthwhile. That one day, where all the imperfections have accumulated to create something perfect, is what makes me put energy into art.

Ashish: What materials do you use in your paintings?

AB: I use mix-media and found objects.

Ashish:  How have you evolved as an artist? How would you describe your journey so far?

AB: From the days of creating something once in a while to now, when I create something every day, is basically how I would consider myself to have evolved. Having the maturity to understand that the mistakes are equally as important as getting things right has also helped evolve my art. Secondly, through my experiences, I have also learnt that working on notions rather than working on fully laid out plans is better, as it leaves scope for expansion and betterment.

Ashish: Who is/are your favourite artist(s)? And why?

AB: My favourite artists would be Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kalat and Damien Hirst. I admire Subodh Gupta and Jitish Kalat for more or less the same reason, which is basically encapsulating Indian emotions and ideas in the most relevant and provoking way, and also at the same time, pushing the envelope of modern Indian art multifold. Damien Hirst’s works have always inspired me to not be afraid of the scale of your idea, be it physically or philosophically.

Ashish: As an artist, what do you think needs to be done in order to reach out to more people?

AB: I think that artists need to be less self-indulgent and more inclusive in their ideas. I have often heard artists complain about the Indian audience being naive as compared to the audience abroad. However, we need to realise that artists are not on any pedestal and are also ‘normal’ people. The mindset of the artist needs to change and I am sure the audience’s mindset will change too.

Ashish: What differences do you find in the audience of India and abroad?

AB: I have very little experience of an audience abroad. However, through some artists and curators that I have met, I can just conjure that the audience abroad is much more receptive of art and understands its importance in society.

Ashish: Is art limited to some classes in India? If so, what are the reasons behind it?

AB: Yes, I think that art is limited to some classes in India, which mostly includes buyers but very few artists. I think that artists are coming from all walks of life. However, the reason that it is limited to only a few classes in India is that art has never been given too much importance by the Indian education system. Art is often considered a self-indulgent activity or sometimes just a hobby. Schools and colleges can create consciousness towards art. However, I see that lacking in our education system. Another reason is the lack of museums and galleries in India and not enough backing being given to public art. And lastly, the self-indulgent and self-important attitude of the artists.

Ashish: How do you see the economics of art in India?

AB: The commercialisation of art needs to go a long way, which starts with making art more and more accessible to the people. The trend in India has always been that once an artist reaches a certain landmark, suddenly their art turns into a form of social currency. His thoughts and ideas matter less and his name matters more. This attitude needs to change. The relevance and the thought of the artists need to be of utmost importance, regardless of whether they are experienced or not. To sum up the economics of art in India, I would like to quote Subodh Gupta from an interview, where, when he was asked about his fame, said, “I only became famous in India after people started to know that my art sells for millions.”