By Sarmistha Maiti
The connection between art and horses is not new. Horses on canvas, in metal and in avant-garde installation have always been the collector’s first choice. But how would it be when art will be executed in the race course amid exciting horse races taking place! That was the punch-line… and it came outperfectly!
It was a unique and unprecedented event that took place in the City of Joy on March 29, 2014, well, can be better regarded as something to happen for the first ever time in the cultural history of the country. Raving Horse races, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Indigenous Baul Music along with Semi-classical performances were plunged together and the event was celebrated in one of Kolkata’s heritage site, the Race Course where Bachhawat Foundation and the Royal Calcutta Turf club (RCTC) came together to host the event and made it a grand success. This was Bachhawat Foundation Art Day which became the rendezvous for affluent personalities, artists, art collectors, art lovers, filmmakers, fashion designers, writers, poets, industrialists and many more – a gathering of around seven thousand people to cheer up the exciting horse races on a spring-summer afternoon and gear up the spirit of art and art practitioners and also enrich their art collection with some of the artworks exhibited, auctioned at RCTC on this day.
The Bachhawat Foundation Art Day has been able to set a cultural milieu and bring together people involved in different forms of arts and their prospective patrons and serious collectors from all over the nation. It was precisely designed in a way that each one involved in the art world could be benefitted and a cultural liaison is built between the creative artist and the potential collector and the neat result has been exactly the same. The reason why horse races had been arranged was to create the bridge between the creator and the collector who are also interested in other forms of investment and entertainment and as a part of the package art could be easily threaded in. A good patron always tries to keep the spirit of creativity alive against all odds and the Bachhawats have always been great sustainers in the field of art and aesthetics for the last five decades and have always tried to do something novel and innovative. And this time with the collaboration of RCTC, the Bachhawat Foundation Art Day almost set a new benchmark in the art world.
There were eight horse races where the winning owner of the horse was given a Bronze Sculpture as the winning trophy that had been sculpted by eight eminent sculptors of the country - Akhil Chnadra Das, Bimal Kundu, Goutam Das, Niranjan Pradhan, Pankaj Panwar, Shankar Ghosh, Sunil Kumar Das and Tapas Sarkar. The trophy-sculptures was given away by eminent filmmaker Goutam Ghose, famous actress Moon Moon Sen, notable novelist Kunal Basu, leading artist Jogen Chowdhury and their likes. The art auction was conducted by Cyrus Madan and the works presented in the auction were by eminent artists of the country - Aditya Basak, Akhil Chandra Das, Achuthan Kudallur, Bimal Kundu, Chandra Bhattacharya, Ganesh Haloi, Jayashree Chakravorty, Jayasri Burman, Jogen Chowdhury, Kartick Chandra Pyne, Laluprasad Shaw, Mithun Dasgupta, Paresh Maity, Partha Pratim Deb, Prokash Karmakar, P.R.Narvekar, Rabin Mondal, Rajesh Deb, Sanat Kar, Sekhar Roy, Shipra Bhattacharya, Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya, Subrata Biswas, Suhas Roy, Sunil Das, Sunil De, Supam Adhikary and Tapas Biswas. The participating artists of the exhibition and workshop were Aditya Basak, Amitava Dhar, Arindam Chatterjee, Atin Basak, Chandra Bhattacharya, Chhatrapati Dutta, Goutam Das, Jaya Ganguly, Sakti Burman, Sanatan Dinda, Samit Das, Samir Aich, Samindranath Majumdar, Sekhar Roy, Subrato Gangopadhyay, Sudip Roy, Tapas Konar and Wasim Kapoor.
The final result of this great event of Art Day has been a great triumph witha sale of 80 percent of the artworks in the auction and as decided that 50 percent of the money raised would go to the artists and the rest 50 percent to a charitable body – it was April 9, 2014 that the raised money was given away to the respective charitable organization. An amount of 25,67,500 INR in the form of cheque was handed over to Mr. Raman Dhawan, GOC Eastern Command for the “Army Central Welfare Fund” by the Trustee Members of the Bachhawat Foundation. Similarly 50 percent of the money raised would go to the Artists’ Benevolent Fund ‘Aastha’ which is a part of the sold amount from the artworks showcased in the exhibition and workshop held on the Art Day.
The Bachhawat Foundation is a non-profitable organization dedicated to the benefit of art of different forms and it looks forward to create more dynamic and successful examples in the field of art and culture in the years to come…