Art attack!

An uncanny work week… it started and ended in the most unusual way and funnily, but delightfully, was connected to India Foundation for the Arts (IFA), both times.

Monday morning didn’t see me in the grip of my usual mail backlog, but instead in the grip of a wonderfully brought-out book by IFA – Art Connect. Having recently become a ‘friend’ in one of their donor programmes, this was sent to me by mail and it wasn’t until Monday morning that I opened the cover to see what lay within.

I was thrilled to note the theme – performing arts, for it promised to be an interesting read. Stories described art forms, from Dastangoi to Risalo to Beautiful Thing and Alladeen. The reason this publication finds mention on my blog is that, although I have always been appreciative of IFA’s design style and aesthetics across their publications, I particularly enjoyed how this issue of Art Connect had been conceptualised. In keeping with the theme – theatre, the pages were visually replete with cut-outs of figures, actors, performers, mostly against dark backgrounds, to retain the theatrical feel. The effect had the issue bringing out the subject so well that readers were not drawn away from the theatre form while reading but instead, felt very much a part of the performance. Excellent photography made all the visuals appealing and true to life: interesting angles have been explored and well presented as bleed visuals, leaving the images to cast their spell on the reader. I quite liked this because even the ‘day’ pictures were realistic and brought the reader closer to the subject. And more than everything else, the text is interesting, informative and tells you a fair amount about the art form. So much so, that even if you’re a first-timer, you’re engaged enough. (Well, if this sounds like a review of Art Connect, it may as well be, for this is an immensely interesting read to anyone!)

Now, let me tell you how my week ended. Coincidentally, with an event hosted by IFA again – Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai – the autobiographical play on Anupam Kher, performed by him. What a fantastic play and a unique format – with the actor narrating episodes from his own life, playing different characters and presenting a humorous take on even the most poignant moments in his life! He walked through the audience, made his connect with us, and then went on to stun us with his performance – largely, a dramatised monologue, with fair amount of emotions depicted. We sat through his tears, rage, heartache, fame, amidst a myriad other emotions, but never once did we lose interest. A craftily put together AV peppered the performance and complemented it wonderfully, breaking the monotony, if any, every now and then. This was a first-time for me (not sure if this is the first time the format itself has been defined) but I am sold on it.

All said and done, hats off to the creativity in both the publication and the play. What a way to re-charge oneself creatively! Thanks IFA for this marvellous art attack! And many thanks Arundhati and Menaka – Menaka, you’ve been most patient! 🙂

Some images from Art Connect; design by Mishta Roy.

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