Open House

Pune-based Raosaheb Gurav's art gallery is free for artists, poets, writers and other creative people.

As a budding painter during the '70s, Raosaheb Gurav, 65, experienced the struggles all artists are familiar with. Today, a veteran artist, he wants to "give back to the art world". Gurav has converted his one acre plot near Pune into an open-air art gallery and has offered it for free to all artistes. "There is no charge for anyone who is associated with the creative field, whether he or she is a struggling artist or an established writer, poet or dancer. If I start charging a fee, it will become a commercial venture and the whole purpose will be defeated," says Gurav, who organised his first event in January, with 50 artists from across Maharashtra participating in a landscape painting competition.

The current winter calendar has three events a felicitation of senior artistes, a landscape painting competition and a sculpture workshop.

Originally from Shirol village in Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Gurav studied till Class X and then came to Mumbai. "I shifted to Pune in 1965, where I took admission in Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya and pursued diploma in GD Art and Art Masters till 1970," he says. The same year, he joined Abhinav as an assistant lecturer. In the past 35 years at this art institution, Gurav has worked as a lecturer, professor and eventually retired as a principal in 2005. Since 1986, he has exhibited his works in galleries across India, such as Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, Kalidas Art Academy in Ujjain and Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi. He has also had art shows in New York, London, Japan and Paris. In 2009, he established Raosaheb Gurav Art Foundation, under which he is managing the funds for the gallery.

The gallery, in Mulshi Taluka, 25 km from Pune, is situated amid greenery and the pastoral setting complements Gurav's favourite subject shepherds. The railings on the walkway are made with local stones of Mulshi. A sculpture or mural depicting the life of the shepherds is present every few steps. "There is also a stage for performing artistes such as dancers," says Gurav. The pavement near the stage leads to an artificial pond, which Gurav plans to use to host interactive sessions. "Real creativity breeds in tranquillity. That is why I have planted a thousand trees here," says Gurav.

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