Art & Culture

National to global: Vidisha Pandey promotes Indian folk art internationally

Vidisha’s Creations space at World Art Dubai 2024.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Vidisha Pandey is a Dubai-based artist and curator, and also the founder of Vidisha’s Creations, an arts body with a strong focus on promoting Indian folk and tribal art on global platforms. A UAE resident for nearly a decade, so strong is her passion to promote these art forms, she conducts workshops and exhibitions regularly to raise awareness about them. She organised the first-of-its-kind Indian folk art exhibition titled ‘Pankhudi’, under the patronage of the Consulate General of India Dubai, which saw the participation of renowned artists. She also took part in the Art & Craft Exhibition Series held by the Consulate General of India Dubai, which showcased paintings on Indian folk art.Shakti (strength/power) was a 15-day-long exhibition at Dubai International Art Centre (DIAC), Jumeriah, where 30 paintings were displayed, leading to successful sales. “We were able to get a good footfall of 300 plus art-interested individuals,” says Vidisha about the event. Samay or Time was a 2022 Indian folk art based calendar which saw each month being dedicated to a particular folk art form. It was launched at the Consulate General of India Dubai by the Consul General of India.

Free painting workshop for orphans, an interactive art exhibition titled Ekatra (collection/together) which included an art quiz based on Indian art and an art walk showcasing the beauty of Indian art on fabric and canvas, have also been part of the activities of Vidisha’s Creations. Azadi or Freedom is an annual art competition hosted all across the globe, both on and offline, where the arts body is involved. Vidisha’s Creations participated in World Art Dubai (WAD) 2022, selling more than 36 paintings during the four-day event.

Vidisha 2 

Vidisha has been honoured with the ‘Overseas Award’ for Madhubani art by Mukti Art Gallery, Maithil Manch, an NGO promoting Mithila culture worldwide. She also showed works in Indian folk art at WAD 2024 in a dedicated gallery space. ‘Hunar’ was a recent show of Indian folk and tribal art at DIAC (June 21 — July 5). “It was a summer special show,” says Vidisha, “and was entirely based on India’s folk and tribal art.” Hunar, she adds, is a show of talent found in every corner of India. In the exhibition, 23 artists working in different types of art from various States of India, displayed their creations.Featured artists included Abha Menghani, Divya Singla, Mridu Sriwastava, Veena Devagiri, Shoma Banerjee, Niyati Mittal, Kshama Agarwal, Deepti Mittal, Deepti Sharma, Minal Sriwastava, Tajinder Taluja, Renuka Bharti, Anjali Supe, Chandrika Baruah, Radha Bhatia, Yogita Butala, Renuka Sanjeev, Minakshi Karn, Karthika Nair, Bheemu Reddy, Pragya Dwivedi and Preeti Nilesh. Guests at the event included Abdallah Al Jafali (Emirati actor), Anjini Prakash Laitu (Indian artist), Atul Panase (artist and mentor), Ahmad Al Awadhi Rukni (Emirati artist) and Reema Mahajan, founder of Indian Women in Dubai (IWD), the largest women community in Dubai with over 100,000+ women members across many platforms.

Swadesh or Homeland was the name of the Indian folk and tribal art event and exhibition held at WAD 2024 by Vidisha’s Creations. The Swadesh Art Event, dedicated entirely to Indian art, featured three types of activities: Pradarshini (exhibition), Prastuti (product display) and Kalashala (art workshop). “In this two-day event,” Vidisha recalls, “we showcased and taught Indian art through painting and articles. India is a treasure trove of art, where each State contributes to the richness, with two or more art forms. Our aim is to make this known and recognised worldwide.”

Vidisha 1 

With this in mind, a “mini India” was created at the Swadesh event, where over 80 art forms were shown, embossed on mugs. Also, traditional paintings done with natural pigments and twigs and natural brushes, were displayed – this art making process hails from ancient times. It was Vidisha’s Creations second participation in WAD; it was the only gallery entirely dedicated to Indian folk and tribal art. The gallery was also selected for live performances, art workshops, and artwork showcases. During the event, Warli art, Terracotta art and Lippan art, were shown.

A team of over 40 artists took part in Swadesh, including Kadambini, Jaya, Karthika, Prasadini, Anita, Latha, Hetal, Lakshmi, Anju, Nandini, Manasi, Paulomi, Poonam, Chinmay, Renuka Sanjeev, Saumya, Shoma, Pratibha, Chandrika, Seema, Varsha, Veena, Shubhangi, Srirupa, Parul, Minakshi, Gowri, Amelia, Renuka, Neha, Pari, Radha, Tajinder, Gunjan, Susmitha, Jyoti, Rekha, Chandralekha, Minal, Swarnali, Bini, Sarang Fadnis, Jhinuk and Vidisha.

“Indian art is incredibly both niche and mainstream,” says Vidisha, “but despite being rich and diverse, many people are not aware of this. So our goal is to share our rich heritage of art and culture with the world and help people understand the importance of our art. Every Indian folk and tribal art brings a sense of good luck and inspiration to your life. And every piece of art has a story that encapsulates the essence of life.” Vidisha’s Creations currently features 200 Indian artists. “We are all continuously working to promote Indian art,” concludes Vidhsha.

Indian folk art is ancient and indigenous, originating in tribes and ethnic groups, created by common people, and reflective of their culture. Every region in India has its own cultural and traditional identities and this is evident in the folk paintings of the region. Each region uses readily available materials; the colours are vibrant and natural and the paintings simple, bold and clear.




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