Canvas Narratives’2016 – A Narration

Posted by on Jun 8, 2016 in Blogging

This is a story of my art exhibition, “Canvas Narratives”, one of action, anxiety but of course, one that was full of fun.

The beginning…

It all began one summer day when my two-year-old wish came true. It was the day when I met Ms. Sudha Murthy who I greatly admire and respect. She is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, a social worker and a great author among other things. Mother and I became fans of hers because of her fabulously written story books and novels. We wrote to her stating our wish to meet her and got a reply within a day with an appointment! During our meeting I gifted her a portrait of hers I painted, and so she found out that I was an artist and arranged for me to work with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for organizing a solo art exhibition of mine. We discussed with Suresh Sir, the director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and fixed the dates for the exhibition and art workshops for kids at the BBMP school which is associated with the Bhavan.

The preparation…

Once the schedule was fixed, I, my brother and sister started working on things like coming up with the name of my exhibition, design the invitation cards, figuring out how to frame the paintings and other similar details. It was like working on a huge project :)! After doing lot of researching, thinking, analyzing, discussing, we closed on “Canvas Narratives: An Exhibition of artwork by Anu Jain” as the name for the exhibition.

Preparations continued and my brother got my paintings framed in an amazingly, beautiful dark brown frame with off white background.

In the long queue of works, next was designing and printing invitation cards of exhibition, adding a page about the exhibition on my website, creating the FB event, sending lots invites: emails, Facebook, paper based (yes those too :P), we and the Bhavan contacted many local (paper and online) newspapers to post this on their list of events. We also added this event to several local events’ sites. If you conduct an event like this, feel free to contact me, will be happy to give you the details and save you some time :).

Here’s the banner we created for the e-invitations etc.:

Banner - Canvas Narratives '2016

Banner – Canvas Narratives ‘2016

We also worked with a freelance designer from upwork for the “paper based” invitation cards:

Paper Invitation - Canvas Narratives'2016

Paper Invitation – Canvas Narratives’2016

We also designed and printed stickers for the art work, and beautiful business cards for distributing:

There was still a long “to do” list left for us. Thanks to my sister and brother’s determined team work we continued working on it feverishly and getting things done one by one. Next big thing for us was to figure out how to hang all the artwork (framed paintings as well as non-framed canvas boards) so that they don’t get damaged and also continue hanging for the duration of the exhibition at least. My sister and brother did a lot of research we chose to use a Vinyl coated stranded stainless steel picture wire and some mounting strips to achieve both the goals.

Meanwhile we also started preparations for the workshops for kids I was conducting as part of the exhibition. About the workshop, in a nutshell, I went to a school for the first time in my life – but as a teacher :). It was an amazing experience!

We went to the Bhavan a few days before the exhibition start date for setting up all the artwork. There my brother and sister worked tirelessly for several hours to hang the paintings and arrange painted pottery on a table for display. A guestbook was placed in a suitable location next to a bowl full of chocolates.

Beautiful Exhibition Hall

Beautiful Exhibition Hall

Here are the chosen paintings for the exhibition and a little bit about them: A virtual Tour – Canvas Narratives – 2016

I also want to mention that workers at the Bhavan cleaned and spruced up the exhibition hall beautifully, they did a really wonderful job in a very short amount of time.

Meanwhile I had my first unexpected interview with a team from Infosys foundation, it was first of many to come.

The inauguration…

At last the day for the “launch” of this big project came for which all of us had been working continuously for more than 2 months – the inauguration day of my Art exhibition.

A pleasant interview with TOI

A pleasant interview with TOI

We reached early because we had been told that Times of India would be there for taking my interview (as a result of my wonderful friend Ankur Singh’s reaching out to them). The interview with Times of India was very pleasant. There was a reporter and a photographer and together we had a pleasant, fun chat.

The day started calmly, but grew to be full of excitement soon.

At some point during our conversations, Mr Suresh had asked me what I liked to eat and since I am not shy, I had blurted out – “cake”! And so it was decided that we would inaugurate my art exhibition with cake cutting!

Arrangements continued and I was just lost looking at the guests coming in and the Bhavan workers and my family running here and there to get all the arrangements done. My only task of course was to welcome, greet people and chat with them, all of my favorites things :) ha ha…

Everything was finally set for the inauguration – the stage was decorated with flowers and banners, seating arrangements were done for the chief guest and for other guests, inauguration lamp was decorated with beautiful fresh marigold flowers and placed near the stage. Even the entrance door of the hall was decorated with a fresh flowers’ “toran”. It was grand!

Stage and Podium ready for the inauguration

Stage and Podium ready for the inauguration


Then from around 4:00 pm, all of the sudden a growing wave of people started coming into the exhibition hall, I did not have time to think! As far as I remember,  there would have been around 100-150 people in the hall. We definitely didn’t expect such a large crowd. Once the chief guest Dr. Vijaya, a senior film journalist and all my family, friends and other guests had arrived, the inauguration ceremony began, and was competed by Mr Pemmaiah. He gave a brief introduction of the event and then asked Mr. Suresh to welcome the guests. Mr. Suresh said some beautiful and kind words addressing the chief guest, me and talked about my exhibition.

Inauguration - A wonderful speech by the director of Bharatiya Vdya Bhavan, Mr. Suresh

Inauguration – A wonderful speech by the director of Bharatiya Vdya Bhavan, Mr. Suresh

Then it was my sister Abha’s turn, she gave the “artist intro”, which was very good and there was a lot of clapping during her artist intro speech :).

Inauguration - Artist intro by my sis

Inauguration – Artist intro by my sis

Then Dr. Vijaya who is a kindly old lady (well-known film journalist) spoke in Kannada, which I couldn’t understand of course. A funny thing that happened during this speech was that I was clapping for myself for things she said for me (I was told later by one of my aunties who understands Kannada) ;).

Inauguration - Chief Guest speech by Dr. Vijiya

Inauguration – Chief Guest speech by Dr. Vijiya

In the meantime, we were handed bouquets, were wrapped in shawl, given gifts and so on. Then the customary lamp lighting was done by Dr Vijaya and then I was asked to do the same.

Inauguration - Lamp lighting by Dr. Vijiya

Inauguration – Lamp lighting by Dr. Vijiya

At the end, it was my turn to give a vote of thanks, about which I was very nervous. I had prepared a lot, practiced in front of my brother and sister, mirror and even in front of a digital photo frame, which was really very funny. However, as is expected from me, I instead spoke about whatever was going at that moment in my mind not from that prepared note :D. I was very tensed, but whenever I was feeling nervous I looked at some of my loving friends in the family and their smiling faces reassured me that I was doing ok. I am happy to say that I didn’t disappointed anyone and especially my brother and sister as they said I did a good job :).

Inauguration - Now it is time for my speech

Inauguration – Now it is time for my speech

After all these speeches, there was the non-customary, yummy moment. Gayatri madam from Bhavan’s BBMP Public school got the cake and a pink (since pink is my favorite color) plastic knife to cut the cake. We all ate a bit of the cake and it was delicious! After the inauguration ceremony, I met a lot of new people – members of the Rotary, many super excited kids who were very curious and desperate to ask questions about some of my experimental paintings, other people with varied interests.

Inauguration - Cake cutting

Inauguration – Cake cutting

Questions and discussions

Questions and discussions

Finally, that hectic day came to an end and we came home around 9 pm. We were so tired and felt like we came home after a long travel, but all the excitement from the day kept us going for a few more hours before we went to sleep.

Photo time with family and friends

Photo time with family and friends

In the days to follow…

The 2nd day of the exhibition started with reading the article about me in Times of India at home and I must say they wrote a very nice one. We reached Bhavan around 10:30 am that day and met our family, friends and many other people.  As it was Sunday, many people visited and especially many kids. So, the exhibition hall became a playground! I enjoyed a lot with all the kids.

A piece I was working on during the exhibition

A piece I was working on during the exhibition

More visitors. It was wonderful talking to everyone

More visitors. It was wonderful talking to everyone

The next few days of the exhibitions went well. I got a lot of encouragement from those who visited and also useful feedback that I am incorporating in my work. Many people suggested collaborative projects and work ideas as well, those are very good avenues that I am following up on now.

Painted terracotta pots

Painted terracotta pots

Showing my paintings

Showing my paintings

There was a lot of media coverage as well – both newspapers (online and paper) and TV channel folks. Some of it was fun, but after some time it became rather difficult to repeat the same things over and over again and smiling and laughing and being a show piece (sort of)… sometimes they asked questions which I didn’t see a point to delve into with them and so we had to ask them to stop… anyways, part of the process and one needs to deal with that.

Two days during the exhibition, I conducted art workshops at the Bhawan’s BBMP Public school. Those were very enriching experiences, here’s the blog talking about those.

One of the days, my sister and I decided to do something and visited the nearby Chitrakala Parishad. We got to see a funky elephant made out of waste material  outside which I liked a lot.  We met some fine art students because there is a Fine arts college as well there. We also visited another exhibition and met the artist as well. He had created abstract art about women in society and some of his memories when he was growing up (like playing cricket on the streets). This was an interesting experience for me. Back at the Bhawan, we also met some MBA students who became my friends over the course of the week.

All smiles...

All smiles…

On Friday we met a lot of rotary club from all over the world. Rotary Club and Bhavan are working to start a Gurukul style art school, hence everyone was there.

Encouraging visitors

Encouraging visitors

The last day of the exhibition…

It was a Saturday and we got there early morning as this was the last day and a weekend and we were expecting more people to visit. Among other people, I met a software engineer who was also an artist with whom I had a lot of discussions and learnt about the state of art dealings in India… Throughout the day, people arrived in big groups at times, They were probably attending other events at the Bhavan and were sent to my exhibition as well. They stormed in the exhibition hall and were from different countries and some of the kids were colorfully dressed from the events they were participated in. It was so lively, exciting and delightful to see everyone.

Colorfully dressed...

Colorfully dressed…

We also met and heard some inspiring stories from a retired army person who visited with his family and gave me some ideas for projects.  Then at the end of the day as well as the end of my exhibition, and our friends came by to help us in taking down and packing up all my art work. This was also fun and it was very nice of them to help with this.

Wonderful friends

Wonderful friends

Wrapping up… and looking forward to what’s next!

On the average, I met more than 50 people every day and there were over 120 people present during the inauguration itself, and got 10 pages fill of encouraging feedback and comments in the Guest Book :). From all the exposure, I also have many new avenues to follow. I am working on those ideas now. Over 20 media coverages including TV Channels, Newspapers and Online Newspapers covered the events and wrote about me. All this was quite a response for us! I feel very encouraged and all the interactions helped me a lot. I think I have grown as an artist and as a person and at the same time humbled by the love and encouragement everyone showered. Thank you all!

  • Julie

    Proud of you Anu. Remembering those days when you have started your paintings and now you have reached a different level. God bless you and all the best.

    • Thank you so..much Julie Aunty for your lovely words and blessings. Whatever today I am doing is just because of you and Uncle.

  • Teena Jain Kaushal

    We are very proud of you Anu. Wish you all the success in your journey

  • Ankita Gupta

    Hats off to you and your family anu mam … please do post the pics of your paintings shown in exhibition..I will be really glad to see them