"In an economic reality, people are embarrassed to see artists,'' said Prakash Belawadi, renowned actor, film maker and theatre personality, delivering the inaugural address at an art exhibition in Bengaluru, jointly organised by the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi and the Asian Institute of Design. "If you introduce yourself as an artist, the next question will be what you do for a living. Nobody wants us in that sense. I was never treated a celebrity during 40 years of theatre, but now I get invited to events because I have acted in a few films,'' he said.
It is hard for an artist to know when his work is finished, said Belawadi. ''You have a blank canvas. You don't know which stroke will be the last one. If you ask a filmmaker when his film will be finished, he will perhaps say when the money is over. A theatre person might say the work is over when the deadline approaches,'' said Belawadi, amid bursts of laughter from the crowd.
Belawadi recalled a conversation between a student and his master mentioned in Jean-Paul Sartre's essay titled 'What is art?'. The student wanted to know when a work is finished. The master's answer was that a work is finished when you can look at it and say 'I did it'.''
Product designers don't have to deal with such challenges, said Belawadi. ''In a product, there is a finite last step,'' he said. Art is an engagement with reality, said Belawadi. ''Artists should have the courage to speak out on social problems,'' he said.
The exibition features works of ten artists from Kerala and Bengaluru.