A young artist based in Goa, Siddharth Kerkar has been instrumental in conceptualising and organising the Goa Affordable Art Fest (GAAF).
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I started to create art at the age of 9. I had great exposure to art at an early age because of my dad. I have been creating art since then. I don’t know anything else. This museum was set up two years ago. Setting it up also gave me first-hand experience of creating a gallery and art space. The workshops and talks here have also helped me conceptualize and work on my ideas. I am in the process of studying art in London. It is a great art hub and I have already started getting a lot of exposure.
How did you come up with the idea for the Goa Affordable Art Fest?
In London, I had a chance to view the Royal Academy summer exhibition. It is basically a platform for emerging artists to showcase their works. I also wanted to do something like this in Goa. I discussed it with dad and he agreed to do it. We started work on the project three months ago. We did not spend a single rupee on promotion. All traction was gained on social media. Facebook and Instagram. We got a huge response from artists. This shows the lack of platforms for emerging artists in India. I as an artist also struggle to find the right platforms as well. There are a few galleries in Delhi and Mumbai who cater to emerging artists but there has never been an open call like this in the past. The whole idea is to make art accessible to the general public. Even most of my own friends have never visited a contemporary art space. Visiting art galleries has never been part of our culture. It is very necessary to be liberal and free in our thinking. It is very important for today’s generation. It also helps us become a more plural society.
What is your take on collecting art?
I have a Swiss friend who has art worth a fortune from the masters. What I learned from her was that she started collecting art at the age of 18. It is important to start early and connect and collect art. Keeping all of this in mind we have kept the works priced between Rs 3000 to up to 1 Lakh for the festival.
How was the selection done for the festival?
We got around 700 applications and finally selected 170. It is a good opportunity for artists to showcase their work. We rarely have a show in Goa at such a scale. Peter Mueller and Dr. Subodh Kerkar my father made the final selections for the festival. The two things that were important to us apart from the technical details were the visual appeal and the pricing of the artworks. We hope that this festival makes art accessible and affordable for the general public.