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A gift for your wall

A gift for your wall

Chaitya Dhanvi Shah and Dhanvi Rasiklal Shah

Ahmedabad Mirror


Journalist : Anurita.Rathore

A gift for your wall

Gifting art as a wedding or birthday present instead of a bouquet is
finding takers. Is the ‘beauty’ market ready to invade homes?

If you feel you’re done with gifting large bouquets at birthday
and wedding parties and are looking at giving something that is equally
beautiful and ‘stays’ longer, you probably know where you should head
for. If not, there are those who’re willing to give you the cue. An increasing
number of city art lovers have turned towards investing in art, we know. Now,
there are many more who’re looking at gifting art – and no, it doesn’t have
to be big names like M F Husain, S H Raza, Manjit Bawa or V S Gaitonde
serigraphs (if originals seem too farfetched, that is).

Amdavadis are fast turning towards giving ‘meaningful’ gifts, those that last
not only in memory but also in reality. And, gifting art (besides it turning affordable)
is also one of the best ways to ensure the gift is treasured, and put up on the
walls for posterity.

The ‘shift in gift’ trend is gaining prominence, slowly but surely. Also, it’s not just art
collectors who are interested in purchasing art. People are gifting artworks as
wedding gifts,at house-warming parties, office openings, birthdays, even as souvenirs
to friends abroad. Interestingly, they are also being given as return gifts.
The range isn’t quite chalked out; it is more to do with individual pockets looking at
purchasing and the occasions these are meant for. Serigraphs and artworks could
range from as little as Rs 400 and could go up to whatever number of zeros you
wish to add to it.

“Contrary to what many may assume, people are not interested in big names alone.
We have people asking for limited edition serigraphs of masters, up and coming
artists as well as original paintings of budding artists. They concern themselves
with nice, pleasing art that is high on aesthetics and concept, of course suiting the
need and appropriate budget,” says Dhanvi Shah of Marvel Art Gallery.

Investing in young, up and coming artists is more viable for those recently venturing
into buying ‘beauties’ for the walls. CEPT University Professor Dinesh Mehta
enjoys being able to afford young, Ahmedabad-based artists’ works. He has been
collecting art, “like Harshil Patel’s works that are a visual treat”. For his son’s wedding
two years ago, Mehta instead of giving out the usual boxes of sweets and mithai,
gifted Haku Shah’s serigraphs to all those invited for the occasion.

“The box of mithais would have been consumed and forgotten. The cost of mithai and
chocolates would be as much and so why not gift people something we love and something
they’ll enjoy watching in years to come, I thought. People loved it and now it feels good
when we see those serigraphs in homes we visit,” says Prof Mehta, following it up with
an afterthought, “I am not sure if the trend of investing in art is recent but the trend of having
affordable art at homes is surely getting popular.”

Another art enthusiast, Rajan Vasa, managing director of Contech BPO Services, feels art
as investment has been around and drawing interest for a while but “lately there has
been a realisation about the value of art”.

“Art appreciation has converted into art recognition, perhaps owing to Sotheby’s, Christie’s,
Saffron Arts… People have been collecting art but the realisation of the appreciation of
the investment will get noticed only after some decades. That’s why people like us look at
art for long-term investment and enjoyment.

People are gifting art as wedding gifts, for house-warming parties, office openings, birthdays
and even as souveniers to friends abroad.
Art dealer

We have been buying art of artists like Kakuli Sen, Manoj Kachangal, as well as Gujarat-based
artists; we take serigraphs more as gifts for friends, be it for house-warming or for birthday parties.
It’s a good way to keep the emotion and value of a gift alive,” says Vasa, who enjoys visiting art
exhibitions at galleries in the city.

Art collector Anil Relia has an interesting bit to share on gifting
art. It was prevalent even 50 years ago when colour printing began, he
shares. “Kanu Desai, Somalal Shah, Ravishankar Raval were artists during the time. Kanu Desai
had even designed a portfolio as a wedding gift. It was priced 2, 4 and 6 annas… he called it Dampatya
Jeevan ke Anuroop and it was very popular. In fact, for my wedding I too got three to four such portfolios.
While gifting art was about good wishes then, it is more about investment now. Instead of a silver coin,
people are now choosing to gift a painting.The good aspect is that an art piece has a memory attached;
however, it may take long, sometimes a generation, too, for value to grow. I remember Ravi Varma oleographs
were available for Re 1 anna a dozen and now those prints are worth Rs 2000 each!” says Relia.

“The young generation also picks up art as gifts. Some time back I had someone ask me for Husain’s
Kerala series, much to my curiosity. They said they wanted to gift one to a couple who was heading for
Kerala for their honeymoon; and
guess what, they ended up taking one with a boat because they were to stay in a boat there,” adds Relia.

While gifting art is a desirable option, it is not always the investment angle that appeals. Advocate
Urvashi Shodhan, for instance, would gift art primarily because it pleases the eye. “It cannot be just
about ‘appreciation’ of the art piece. It has to please the eye. If it is work of a known artist, well and good; if
not it’s still okay. I don’t much study how much the art will appreciate; for me it has to give joy.
When I went to Australia I gifted a painting to my nephew who had just moved into a new house.
Before leaving from here, I’d sent him four options of paintings and he chose from those. It wasn’t just
about finishing off with gifting something for the new house, it was about adding a touch of beauty to
it,” reasons Shodhan.

Gifting art is getting to be an “easier” option also because of the “beauty factor”. Gallery owners also
suggest art patrons to gift a piece of art instead of bouquets. “The younger generation is also quite
aware about art. They may not have big money but do consider going in for serigraphs for gifting purposes.
Frankly, it is not just a financial investment, it is also a visual investment. Who doesn’t want to see
good colours, design and positive thoughts on canvas?” asks Nayana Soparkar of Mantra Art Gallery.

Particularly enthused by art taking on the world around, she says: “People are seeing art at friends’ and
neighbours’ homes and it interests them enough to own and gift some as well.”

Like art curator Chaitya Shah reasons, “It’s a growing trend to gift art on different occasions, and why
not? The art will appreciate, it enhances home decor, has a cultural significance, has good return
in long term and most of all, it’s an investment that needn’t be locked up in the bank safe…you can safely
enjoy it around you all the time!”

It’s a growing trend to gift art on different occasions, and why not? It’s an investment that
needn’t be locked up in the bank safe…you can safely enjoy it around you all the time!
Art curator

Team DRS

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