Saturday, October 16, 2021

Art By Heart: A community platform for artists and craft makers

At last, an outlet for artists and art lovers in Sydney’s Indian community.

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

It was a steady stream of visitors at the tiny Westmead community hall that was hosting Art By Heart. By the end of the day, some 600 people had walked through the art and craft exhibition, buying up big time and enjoying the works on display.

A first of its kind in Sydney’s Indian community, the art and craft fair was a grassroots initiative led by jewellery designer Darshana Wadnere.

- Advertisement -

It brought together artists from the world of decoupage, origami, candle-making, clay flowers, ceramics, crochet, succulents and jewellery design, and at least four different styles of painting including Worli, Gond, Madhubani, rangoli board and contemporary.

While we have seen similar artisan-based businesses and home-based art and craft creators out in the community during our festive melas and more recently on Facebook groups, Art By Heart was the first time they all came together to exhibit under one large platform.

Art by heart organiser Darshana Wadhnere.
Art by Heart organiser Darshana Wadnere. (supplied)

“There are many extremely talented artists in our community, but art lovers do not have access to them,” Darshana told Indian Link. “There’s a clear disconnect; we needed a common platform to showcase our art and craft.”

Darshana misses the large-scale artisan exhibitions back home which are held regularly.

“Whichever part of India you come from, you’d frequent these exhibitions to enjoy and purchase beautiful and unique artware and merchandise.”

Wishing to reimagine the “exhibition”, Darshana put the word out on social media, and was floored by the response.

“Not only artists but volunteers came forward too, and we got help and advise from various sources.”

READ ALSO: Ratna Sarma: The art of understanding other cultures

Artists Sanjyot Firke, Shraddha Gupte, Shweta Doke and Vaishali Hingmire, became partners-in-crime, perhaps much-needed, as the 14 stalls were quickly booked. More requests for stalls had to be turned down. Some 250 people registered an interest to visit.

On the day however, 600 people rocked up.

They all walked out carrying bags – of some pretty good quality merchandise.

“Our feedback forms showed our patrons were delighted to see the variety and the high quality of art presented at the markets. They asked when the next market will be held, suggesting bigger venues to incorporate more stalls.”

For the exhibitors themselves, it was a satisfying experience for two solid reasons: one, each reported sales of 80-85%; and two, they had become happy members of a new art community.

Was it like the quintessential Indian “exhibition”? You could say so, but we’d prefer to give it an Aussie touch: the Rocks Market, community style.

As Sydney’s Indian community has grown, we’ve seen promising platforms emerge in the cultural scene for music, dance, theatre; in sport, and in literature to some extent. The art scene has thus far remained elusive as a large-scale community outlet – we can only hope Darshana’s early efforts to attenuate this, will pave new pathways.

Meanwhile, watch this space for the next event by Art By Heart.

READ ALSO: Julia Raath: ‘For a teacher of textiles, India is heaven’

Link up with us!

Indian Link News website: Save our website as a bookmark

Indian Link E-NewsletterSubscribe to our weekly e-newsletter

Indian Link Newspaper: Click here to read our e-paper

Indian Link app: Download our app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and subscribe to the alerts


Twitter: @indian_link

Instagram: @indianlink

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/IndianLinkMediaGroup

- Advertisement -
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

Related Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Vishal Jood rushed out of Australia

Hours after his release from custody, controversial jailed Indian national Vishal Jood was rushed out of Australia on the first available flight. In a statement,...

Review: Dhindora (YouTube Original)

‘Dhindora’ means beating of the drums; figuratively, it also means tomtomming. This eight-episode comedy series streaming on YouTube is part social commentary, albeit crass,...
Taapsee Pannu as Rashmi. Source: Twitter

REVIEW: Rashmi Rocket (Zee5)

  Rashmi Rocket is a scathing sports drama. It is not a story of an underdog but that of a gifted athlete who was subjected...
scott morrison

Triple J Hack: South Asian Aussies on ScoMo’s curry nights

  This week on Triple J Hack, Indian Link journalist Rhea L Nath, Liverpool Councillor Charishma Kaliyanda, and Crikey federal politics reporter Kishor Napier-Raman spoke to...
John Lang (left) and Rani Lakshmi (right). Source: Goodreads, Wikimedia commons

John Lang, Rani Laxmibai’s Aussie attorney against the British (review)

  John Lang, In the Court of the Ranee of Jhansi and Other Travels in India, Speaking Tiger, 2015; Rupa Publications 2016.  Har-Anand publications 2015;...