17 years of art, expression and freedom

On the occasion of Galleri Kaya’s 17th birthday, The Business Standard interviewed its director, acclaimed artist Goutam Chakraborty

08 October 2021, 10:30 a.m.

Last modification: 08 October 2021, 13:02

Since its inception, Galleri Kaya has consciously blended senior artists with relatively newer artists and brought them together under one roof. Photo: Courtesy

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Since its inception, Galleri Kaya has consciously blended senior artists with relatively newer artists and brought them together under one roof. Photo: Courtesy

In 2003, when Goutam Chakraborty moved to Uttara, he thought of transforming his ground floor into a gallery.

But he also decided that the gallery was not going to be a typical gallery focusing only on exhibitions, it was going to be a creative space where artists were going to feed themselves.

The planning and interior design took about five months, after which “Galleri Kaya” began her journey. And for 17 years, he has been organizing exhibitions, workshops, art camps, art trips and much more to keep art alive and artists engaged in the country.

The Business Standard had a detailed discussion with the renowned artist, gallery owner and director of Galleri Kaya Goutam Chakraborty about the gallery’s journey over the years, the art industry in Bangladesh, the need for patrons and his plan for the future.

Goutam Chakraborty. Sketch: SCT

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Goutam Chakraborty.  Sketch: SCT

Goutam Chakraborty. Sketch: SCT

When he first opened the gallery, there were quite a few challenges. The first was its distance from other galleries or art centers such as Shahbagh and TSC.

He was worried about whether people were going to travel to Uttara to visit him. “I needed to plan something very, very unique for people to come to the gallery. So I designed the programs with that in mind.”

There were a lot of ups and downs in the beginning, but over time Galleri Kaya gained momentum and became one of the most renowned galleries in the country.

He once held a workshop on “Gajir Pot” (folk painting) at Jamuna Resort, attended by eminent artists like Qayyum Chowdhury, Kalidas Karmakar and Nitun Kundu, among others.

Image: Courtesy

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Photo: Courtesy

Image: Courtesy

“It wasn’t just a workshop, it was a lively discussion, a vibrant ‘adda’ where all these artists were drawing, talking and sharing life stories, each more interesting than the next,” Goutam explained. with us.

This is essentially what sets Galleri Kaya apart from others, she creates platforms where artists can express themselves freely.

Galleri Kaya is also hosting a 17th anniversary exhibition today, marking the centenary of the birth of the Father of the Nation and Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The creative works of 32 modern and contemporary artists are exhibited here.

Our first question to the artist was: “Is there a big enough market for galleries to survive?”

“Not in our country. We tend to do things under manipulation; we always seek favors from each other. Art can’t thrive like that,” he replied.

According to him, those who claim to have large art collections should know that those who deal directly with art (artists, gallery owners, etc.) know more than they do.

“I was saying to a collector the other day, if you have a lot of money, you can instantly buy a lot of expensive things,” he said, adding, “But building a good art collection isn’t not easy, it takes time, and an eye for art. “

“Do we have artists who create valuable paintings? We asked him.

“We had artists like Zainul Abedin and SM Sultan. For paintings of great value, there must be people with a genuine interest in art and a lot of works of art,” he said. .

According to Goutam Chakraborty, there are not enough patrons in Bangladesh. “There is no commitment. Someone who claims to have the largest art collection in the world is not the same as patronizing art.”

Photo: Courtesy

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Image: Courtesy

Image: Courtesy

However, during his journey with Galleri Kaya, he received overwhelming support from artists. “The senior artist or the junior artist, whoever I approached, always responded warmly. ”

We then asked him to share his take on the size of the art industry in the country. “There isn’t a substantial market, so what can we call it an industry? What we have, can’t really be called an industry.”

Who are Kaya’s competitors? “I guess Galleri Kaya’s competitors are other galleries, or I am their competitor,” he replied quickly.

Since its inception, Galleri Kaya has consciously blended senior artists with relatively newer artists and brought them together under one roof.

“As an art student, as an artist’s son, I am committed to taking care of artists. Established artists don’t need gallery support, talented young people need it,” said Goutam.

He thinks that art is going through such a period where we have to break down barriers and go beyond borders. “We lack research in art, there are no good books or analyzes.”

“Simply organizing exhibitions is not enough, the art journey is long,” he said, adding: “There must be world-class exchange programs where works of art would be carefully preserved and displayed “.


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