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Artists’ unique work during lockdown will help us sustain, feels art gallery owner

Artists’ unique work during lockdown will help us sustain, feels art gallery owner

Vibha Ahuja at her gallery in Jalandhar on Thursday. Tribune Photo

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 28

A feet-operated sanitiser dispenser will now greet you at Venus Art Gallery during your next visit, for this has become a new normal now.

When its owner, Vibha Ahuja (53), an artist, entrepreneur, curator and plant lover, opened her little art gallery-cum-studio after two months of the lockdown, she wasn't expecting the usual rush of customers, especially when art isn't viewed as an essential commodity. But days after getting back to work, she has realised things are not as bad as initially looked , as heavy indulgence of people in artistic pursuits during the lockdown will sustain her arty little oasis in the heart of a posh city market.

She feels that the pandemic-induced lockdown has brought people closer to the nature and art, therefore she is hopeful of welcoming clients in the days to come.

She further adds they are taking all precautionary measures and sanitising door handles, knobs and chairs twice a day. The visitors are not allowed without mask.

She said to follow social distancing, her clients come only on appointment.

Vibha says, “I thought since art isn't an essential commodity, there won't be any takers during the lockdown. But many women are sending in artworks they produced during the period and a couple of buyers have also turned up for procuring tasteful artworks to renovate homes during the lockdown.”

However, she says there is no denying the fact that work has been affected. “There is a 70 per cent reduction in business. Also, with the Covid-19 protocol in place - we are not buying any raw material from outside. Most shops are already closed or not delivering. All new work taken up by the gallery is made out of stuff already lying with us. The major affect of the lockdown is that many hotels, bars and pubs, which are our vital clients, are still shut,” she adds.

There are two employees at the gallery, who live on its first floor only. She says this is a major relief for her as they are not going out anywhere.

Her gallery is dotted with green plants - both at the entrance and inside - and has posters reading 'Save Energy, Save Water' .

She adds, “Even though it will take a considerable time for normalcy to return, the lockdowns did help contain the spread. Earlier, we never gave attention to small things in life and were not concerned towards saving the nature. The two-month rest has given the nature an opportunity to rejuvenate. Those colourful birds in the sky and visibly happier trees have been a welcome break from traffic jams.”

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