Art for the Home and Hearth, Business Line, Oct 2013

This article, published in the Home & Style supplement of The Hindu Business Line, talks about how art is making its way into more homes, including those in middle-class and salaried families. The focus is on the change in people’s attitude towards art, and a growing inclination towards spending more on different forms of art. Interviews with an art collector, a gallery owner, and the owner of a boutique that sells home decor items, are woven in. Also, a box story provides tips for the first-time collector on how to select/ buy art pieces.

Janaki Hrishikesh, a Chennai resident, still remembers the first painting she brought. “It was a scene of Krishna’s rasaleela. We had just bought a house and were looking to decorate it. The painting practically drew us to it,” she says.

Back then, in 1997, she paid Rs 1,500 for the piece, which measures 12” by 36”. Over the years, she has decorated her home with varied forms of art — from paintings and murals to masks, applique and embroidered works.

Until a couple of decades back, art was considered the forte of the rich, especially those who lived in big houses with ample space to display their collections. The scene has changed considerably — now, even middle-class, salaried families are keen to invest in art. Moreover, spending has increased as well. Janaki says she spends up to Rs 10,000 for a painting, and up to Rs 2,000 on a craft item such as a mask if it is exceptional. She adds that she is willing to put down even Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh for pieces made of marble or wood

(The article continues – read it in full at the Business Line website: Art for the Home and Hearth)

(Box story: Tips for the novice collector)

Bee that as it may, Business Line, Oct 2012

A look into how honey bees have found their way into fashion and art – beginning with a mention of Sarah’s Burton’s bee-themed collection for Alexander McQueen during the recent Paris Fashion Week. The thrust of the article deals the Hyatt Regency Chennai’s honey bee-centric art theme display, which was the inspired by a need to spread the message that honey bees are dwindling in numbers. A box item details the reason as to why the honey bee is an important part of our ecosystem. The article was published in (The Hindu) Business Line on October 26 in the Weekend Life section.

In the recently concluded Paris Fashion Week, designer Sarah Burton showcased models wearing honeycomb-latticed boots, head gear modelled on apiculturists’ hats, and elaborate evening dresses with blooms and bee detailing. As Sarah, who designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, said later, “It was looking at womanhood and embracing the female form. I wanted it to feel sensual. I wanted to have a lightness to it and I wanted it to feel erotic but not in an overly fleshy kind of way.”

Closer home, the Hyatt Regency in Chennai recently hosted a three-day fest centred on bee inspired art pieces. About four years ago, Namita Saraf (hotelier Arun Saraf’s wife) and Rajeev Sethi (designer and chairman of Asian Heritage Foundation) were standing at the erstwhile Abbotsbury in Chennai, which was later acquired by the Sarafs’ Hyatt Group. There, they saw huge bee hives hanging from beams that were part of the former structure. Rather than being scared away by the thought of painful stings, Namita wondered “if the bees are telling us something”.

(The article continues. Read the full article at the Business Line website: Bee that as it may & Bee-gone)