Back in 2008, Michael and I made our first foray to India, spending most of our time in the city of Bangalore. This was still early on in our travel career and I was not super comfortable traveling around by myself, but one of the days I screwed up my courage and headed to a local Fine Arts Gallery. I went back and read my entries for that day and loved the memory……
Sukumar had told me of a Fine Arts Gallery that was fairly close to the Institute and I had been able to find it on a map that Paul Billy had given me, so I ventured outside of the main gate and hailed an Auto (Rickshaw). It did not seem encouraging that it took four drivers to figure out where I wanted to go even though I was pointing to it on a map!!! They finally agreed and I set off with one of the drivers. Since I wasn’t really sure that he knew where he was going, I watched closely on the map. He stopped a couple of blocks short of my destination but I gratefully alighted on the sidewalk. We were in front of a fancy hotel, so I asked the guard where the Gallery was and he pointed me off down the street. As I was walking past, another Auto-driver offered to take me, but I told him that I needed the exercise…..he laughed. When I finally got there, the same driver was waiting for me and pointed me to the entrance!!!!
The gallery is part of the College of Fine Arts. I spent a few minutes in the store which sells not only the student’s art, but that of the professors as well. I came close to buying a painting, but was concerned about how to get it back to the US. (NOTE…..if this had been today I DEFINITELY would have bought the painting and worried later about how to get it home)!! I paid for my entrance to the gallery….just 10 rupees (2.5 cents)!!!!!
As I walked up the stairs, a woman met me and showed me into a gallery. As I entered the darkened gallery, she turned on the lights and fans and stood with me while I looked. This first gallery was filled with paintings that had extremely bright colors. I finally found a plaque that said that the pictures were painted with tempera paint.
As I left the gallery, the lights and fans were turned off, and I was shown into another gallery where the lights and fans were turned on again. This continued all throughout the galleries and I came to enjoy the company of my “minder”, even though she spoke very little English. As I entered the topmost gallery, the floor was covered with a thick bamboo carpeting, and my hostess was laying down on the floor. She started to stand up hastily as I approached, but I motioned for her to stay put. She said thank you and that she had a “bad back”. I told her that I understood perfectly and that I might well join her on the floor. As I finished the final gallery, she looked at me and said “Last”…..my signal to leave!!!
As I left the gallery, I noticed some more art that was in a garden area just to one side. Since I did not see a “No-Photo” sign, I took a few pictures of the outside art. My favorite piece was mounted in a tree. It was a series of giant ants made from wire and plastic wrap that culminated in a large “nest” high up in the tree. There were even some ants at the base of the tree, fighting to be the next to climb up. It was very entertaining!!!!!….
As I walked around the campus a bit I noticed a young woman sitting at the base of a Banyon tree and was greatly moved by the image.
After this SUPER long introduction, this is my “Almost Wordless Wednesday” offering!!!
Now let’s finish the story of the outing…..
As I left the compound, I spoke with an Auto driver who informed me that would not take me back to the Institute, because he would not be able to pick up a fare inside and would have to come back empty. Another older driver came up and said that he would gladly take me. He was wonderful and talked to me about the area that we were driving in. He pointed out some of the houses and said that this was a very rich area, but that most of Bangalore was not the same. I told him that we had been living in Bonasvati and he seemed relieved that I didn’t think that Bangalore was filled with rich people. I told him that he could drop me at the front gate, but he insisted on driving me to the door of the guest house, yet another example of the friendliness of the Indian people!!