This city duo breathes new life into ‘Art for Art’s Sake’

CHENNAI: In an ever-bustling city where ambition and perfection drive life at a hectic pace, two friends, Bianca Joseph and Harshitha Murali, have created a space where people can escape their monotonous lives and take a breather. For them, art is not only about the aesthetic result, but also about the journey itself, about how it is created. Inspired by the timeless philosophy of ‘Art for Art’s Sake’, the duo has embarked on a journey to reignite the spark of childlike creativity within our community.

Bianca, an artist and psychologist, and Harshitha, a writer, share a bond forged over fourteen years of friendship, where art has been their steadfast companion through life’s ups and downs. Harshitha says, “We have collaborated with each other on school projects, volunteered together for non-profit organizations and helped organize other events in the city. We have a track record of very good cooperation. Bianca is a trained artist and her expertise as a counseling psychologist helps us bring art therapy elements into the workshop.”

Their vision for an event focused on the pure joy of artistic expression took shape when they spotted a gap in the current art workshop scene in Chennai. “Rather than focusing solely on instruction, technique and skills, we envisioned our workshop, Planned Accidents, as a space where people can release their inhibitions, come together and reconnect with a habit that was once for us was all intuitive as a child. to just make art as it is,” says Bianca.

Their first workshop featured unexpected diversity, drawing participants of all ages and backgrounds into a shared experience of creativity and community. Encouraged by the feedback and the desire for more, Bianca and Harshitha decided to continue their mission.

The choice of the Art Kin Center as the location was a logical choice, with founder Anahata Sundarmurthy embodying the spirit of artistic freedom and expression. Talking about the art industry in Chennai, Anahata says, “I have been working in the art industry for over a decade with top galleries, they are beautiful spaces. But they have a specific reason and a group of people they target. They are usually not the places where the general public goes. Although it is not necessarily a negative thing, it does reduce the accessibility of art. Aesthetics are everywhere, we are intuitively drawn to specific colors and shapes.”

Together, the three create an ‘art playground’ in Harshitha’s words, where participants are encouraged to explore a wide range of media, from traditional paints to unconventional found objects, in a true celebration of artistic experimentation. Harshitha says, “We want it to be a mix of different art materials and other crazy objects that you wouldn’t normally choose to make or use to explore different art styles.”

True to Anahata’s words, the workshop encouraged participants to focus on the art supplies that called to them. Sunaina, a participant, says: “I loved the liberating aspect of the workshop, we could choose the medium that intrigued us.” Another participant, Keerthy recalls, “went to a workshop as a kid where they had us work with charcoal. I saw charcoal here and got super excited, so I wanted to do something with where it all started.” Shilpa Agarwal, an ex-journalist, says, “The workshop was a much-needed experience for me to remember what it’s like to enjoy a solo date, see new faces, hear nuggets from other lives and feel like a child. I found it interesting that, after initial hesitation, a group dynamic can also be a place where we can be creative together and individually.”

As they look to the future, Bianca and Harshitha envision their workshops becoming a staple of the community, providing a haven for self-expression and connection in a world that often feels disconnected. In their continued efforts, Bianca Joseph and Harshitha Murali are not only planning to conduct more workshops soon, but have also set their sights on expanding their vision to Bangalore.