17 Oct 2012

Kitsch Mandi, Bangalore

An art fest was organized by Time Out at Pebbles Bar, Palace Grounds in Bangalore sometime in September this year, with a lot of 'hoo- haah'. My husband read about it first and promised to treat me to an arty evening there, since he thought an artyhead like me would like something like this.  On the big day we set out with our cameras in full gusto, eager to get some good clicks at the fest.

From the outside, it looked like a Page 3 fashion mela exploding with lots of arty people from the advertising, fashion and media industry sporting khakhis, jholas, crocs, mohawks and goatees and a lot of art college students who seemed to have come straight from the hair salon. I even saw somebody wearing yellow coloured boots on weird looking clothes!

The mandi was crowded beyong belief, and somehow my local train travelling skills from Mumbai came handy here. The open ground was converted into an exhibition space, with individuals selling items like painted bottles, stoles, earrings, bags, ipad covers and other home- made arty items, all at absurdly exorbitant prices. Like it is said, anything sells in the name of art.

My frown just turned upside down as my eyes were straining to see something unique, special, something that qualifies to be in an art fest. I was reminded of the Kala Ghoda fest that happens in Mumbai, which is several notches ahead, and is the real deal. This one seemed like it was trying too hard and not getting anywhere.

It was one of those places where everyone was there, just to show they were part of the "cool arty industry". Suddenly, the phrase 'all dressed up and nowhere to go' came to my head!

The most meaningless of them all, was the sitting area created in the centre of the small ground, where in the midst of hoards of people moving about, performing on stage, and stalls selling standard stuff, there were people lazing and lying down on mats. (Imagine a traffic jam moving from the either side coz a bunch of cows have decided to sit in the middle of the road). Exactly!

We bumped into a few friends and acquaintances, who were also armed with cameras and tripods, frowning that there was nothing worth capturing. Famished, we moved to the food section on our way out. Apart from chai, there was nothing worth having either.

All in all, a show with all noise and no substance. Major disappointment and no items in my shopping bag and a prior trip to the ATM was totally wasted.

Here are some of the few pictures I took from my camera. The last one is a poster created by Kitsch Mandi for some promos.

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