When you walk into an art gallery, you expect to see paintings hung on white walls, in rooms with strong lighting and polished marble floors. You will find none of these at Arterios gallery in North Chennai’s Shenoy Nagar. Here, the paintings are displayed on the walls of the third floor corridor in a residential apartment. Arterios is exactly what it claims to be – “A gallery with a difference.”
Apart from the unusual setting, the gallery displays only the works of young, upcoming artists. This “Corridor gallery” is the brain child of Lata Gopati, an artist herself. She graduated in Fine Arts from Stella Maris College in Chennai. However, she chose not to pursue a career as an artist. “Climbing up the art world is tough for a young artist and it is difficult to sustain a career in art, month after month.”, says Ms. Gopati. She worked in PR, Customer Service and Administration for about 20 years and is currently a corporate trainer in soft skills and personality development. It was one of her friends who noticed her paintings and first bought them from her. She hasn’t looked back since. Today, she is a name to reckon with in the Chennai art scene. Her paintings adorn the walls of individual collectors and multi-national companies. Arterios is her attempt at helping other artists find their space. The gallery provides an excellent platform for artists who cannot afford the high rent demanded by conventional art galleries. At Arterios, no rent is charged and artists pay only a nominal sum as registration fee. Rama Suresh, Sheela Maradi and Kaamar Thiya are a few of the artists who have benefited from this gallery. After their show at Arterios, they have been able to do solo exhibitions and receive the patronage of art collectors in India and abroad.
There were several voices that discouraged Lata from starting this venture. Many said that the gallery, located away from South Chennai which is Chennai’s hub for art and artists, would not attract many visitors. But a year and a half later, Arterios is still going strong. Ms. Gopati says with a smile, “I have not lost my motivation.” Every exhibition they have held so far has been successful.
Arterios continues to be a haven for young artists and lovers of art. It promotes art for art’s sake in a world where art is increasingly becoming commercial. And what can be more creative than using the bare walls of an apartment corridor to display works of art!