Publication: The Times of India
By Priyanka Kachhava
CHANDIGARH: Having carved a niche for himself in the world of art — from a sign-painter and carpenter in Punjab to a renowned sculptor in UK — Avtarjeet Dhanjal gave up creating works of art to be sold after he thought he had achieved enough.
"I just wanted to sit back and take stock of my life," he said, during the Chandigarh Art Conclave being hosted by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.
However, the veteran artist said that most people in today\'s world had no clue on where their life was headed. "I once met a woman, who was in the same hostel as mine, back in the mid seventies. Now, in her sixties, I asked her what she thought of her life over the years. She did not know what to do with it; she had been following her mother\'s dream — of being a successful doctor. She did not even have a dream of her own," Dhanjal recalls.
The present state of art and how youngsters respond to it does not please him either. He attributes the situation to lack of role models in the country. "Young people have curiosity and they need role models. For the past few years, there have been no role models in the field," he said at the Government Museum & Art Gallery in Sector 10.
What follows, according to him, is a waste of time and energy as youngsters experiment for lack of any proper guidance. "Even in science, one in ten experiments is successful. Similar is the case with art," he reasons.
Calling the present time \'critical\', Dhanjal said the current generation did not have an answer if anyone asked them what their dream was in life. "They are hooked to Facebook and Twitter. The cheap programmes on television and potato chips in hand are just the same: without any real value. No food for body and no food for thought," he said.
Adding that the education system was also to blame for lack of interest in arts, Dhanjal said the society also had to give youngsters a purpose in life. "The society, the education system and a creative environment in households can all guide a person toward his dream in life," the artist added.
Dhanjal spoke about his journey and his art at the third day of the conclave at Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 on Thursday. The last day of the conclave will see all artists attending the conclave in discussion at 6 pm.