With 46 vendors over five days, this edition of By Hand From the Heart is a show of creative strength
rt is truly at the heart of the 17th edition of By Hand From the Heart. For the first time, artists are getting three days dedicated to a group showcase of their works, to be followed by a makers’ market. “Progressing beyond lifestyle products, there will be literature (The Madras Mag Bookshop), furniture (Kairasi) and music (Bansuriwala) for the first time,” explains organiser Deepa Sekar. Not much has changed though in the event’s objectives since its inception in 2011, clarifies organiser Kshiti Davey. “We started out to provide a platform for designers and makers to meet the right audience, and we are on track with that,” she says. Here’s a guide to what to look out for at the event.
Ankon Mitra, Oritecture
An architect with a passion for origami, Delhi-based Mitra will present a series of works inspired by Tamil Nadu’s heritage, in his first exhibition in the city. “In showing the architectural sites using origami, the geometry of a permanent structure gets made in an ephemeral medium,” he states. Sites that inspired him include the Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple in Madurai. Specially presented for the market is a diptych themed on the floods, called Chennai’s Ark. Arangyetram, featuring the pleats of the Bharatnatyam costume, is yet another work scheduled for the city. “This involved a lot of folding, at least 2,000 folds, as I had to fold both paper (Indian mint paper) and fabric (Madras silk), and then refold them to create the effect,” he explains. Rs 7,500-Rs 50,000. On February 1-3 and 5-6.
Moka Satish Kumar, Paper sculptures
A self-taught artist, Vizag-based Kumar is one of the few practitioners of paper sculpting in the country. “It is a very labour-intensive art. If I work 12 hours a day, I’d still complete only two works in three months,” says the 45-year-old, who will be displaying his work in Chennai for the first time. Using customised embossing tools and imported paper, Kumar says he has honed his skills by observing the works of Canada-based paper sculptor, Calvin Nicolls. Besides a Ganesha (Rs 55,000), his Indian Lady (Rs 1,50,000) will be the highlight of the art show. February 1-3.
Aarti Karwayun Chawda, Artwork
Bengaluru-based artist and home décor designer Chawda believes divinity lies within us. And she has attempted to present this theme in her recent collection. She asked her friends to define divinity as they saw it, and then used that imagery to do charcoal portraits of them. “We shot a video on this theme and, as the collaborators spoke about it, we made them pose for the artwork. I used their inputs on the topic to create an image of the divinity in them,” she says. Rs 3,000 onwards. February 1-3 and 5-6.
The Malayalam Project, Artwork
There’s more than meets the eye in the works of The Malayalam Project, an initiative to research Kerala’s typography. Their latest work attempts to showcase perceptions about women over the decades in Malayalam literature. “We are working on a series of 40 excerpts of popular bodies of literature, starting from the first major novel, Indulekha by O Chandu Menon (1889) to NT Vasudevan Nair’s Randamoozham (1984), to show how women were portrayed in every decade,” explains Aleena Sajeev, researcher and curator of the Kochi-based initiative, who has been working on this theme along with Theresa J George, their design director. Ten excerpts will be presented at the market, besides Malayalam-themed cushions covers, posters and T-shirts. Rs 699 onwards. February 1-3 and 5-6.
Tiny Farm, Quirkstore
If you’re yet to zero-in on a calendar for the year, Tiny Farm has a fun option. Designed specially for the market by Bengaluru-based Riddhi Desai, it features her floral-themed watercolours. The full-time artist has also illustratedChennai-themed quirky notebooks, posters and coasters for her first exhibition in the city. Rs 200 onwards. February 1-3 and 5-6.
Try your hand at Madhubani art. Grab a copy of the hand-drawn adult colouring book (Rs 1,470) by Subadra Kalyanaraman, of The Madras Mag Bookshop. For more Madhubani love, there are jewellery, coasters and combs, designed by artists and sisters Shishu and Chetna Suman, under the label Madhubani Motifs. Rs 100 onwards. February 5-6.
Sandhya Manne, Zentangle
City based Zentangle artist Sandhya—who also teaches the art—will be presenting a new series of pen-and-ink drawings inspired by the mandalas. Over 25 artworks from will be on display at the market. The artist will also showcase a collection of oil paintings themed on her tea time routine. Rs 3,000 onwards. February 1-3 and 5-6.
At Lalit Kala Akademi. Details: 28291692
Hits & misses
To give artists a gallery experience, the organisers opted to host the event at the Lalit Kala Akademi. So they had to give a few regulars, like the farmers’ market, a miss. Davey confirms that this is owing to the Akademi’s regulations. Instead, check out for restored vintage furniture by Kairasi, wood and glass decor from Upcykle, healing jewellery by Strings and Beads, and an anthology of contemporary writing by The Madras Mag Bookshop.
— Sharadha Narayanan