February 23, 2020
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Harsh Goenka

The chairman of RPG Group, also an art connoisseur and collector, on his unique display of self-portraits by leading artists and sculptors in Calcutta

Harsh Goenka
Harsh Goenka
Why do you collect self-portraits by artists?
I always felt it was a fascinating exercise, to see how painters looked at themselves.

And do you feel rewarded ?
Amply. Arpita Singh has given an impression of her palm, because human destiny lies in one's hand. Others have used lines, shapes, sculpted pieces. Just look at the exhibits.

How do these differ from ordinary portraits?
It is self-expression. Painters use their eloquence in colours and lines, not in words.

Have you done such shows before?
About 16-17 shows. Two years ago I organised an art mela in Mumbai, where artists and chefs jointly prepared gourmet dishes. M.F. Husain also came.

What is the USP of this show?
Experimentation. Some painters who normally adopt abstract techniques have been more figurative, so to speak, and a host of other innovations viewers can savour.

When did this interest begin?
From my childhood. Our family has a tradition of collecting miniature art from all over, so I guess I started early.

Ever do any painting yourself?
Not much to speak of.

Whose work do you like best?
Of course, there's Ganesh Pyne, Bikash Bhattacharya, Anjolie Ela Menon, and a host of others.

What is the level of public response to such shows?
Public awareness is growing. There are enthusiasts in Mumbai and Delhi, but for genuine art lovers, Calcutta is the place where the ambience is less crass and commercial.

How does one pull the crowd?
I really don't know.

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