The Department of Fine Arts, Sarojini Naidu School of Art and Communication, recently hosted an outreach program Art Souk 2023 — a vibrant gathering for artists and art lovers on the 9thof April 2023. The first Art Souk took place at the Golden Threshold, the city campus of the University of Hyderabad, in Abids, Hyderabad in the year 2020.

The Arabic term Souk meaning ‘bazaar’ is a fitting name to this event which served as a platform for students and faculty of the department to display their diverse range of practices and creations ranging from painted terracotta platters to welded and terracotta sculptures, zines to jewellery and even everyday functional objects like calendars’, bags, scarves and lampshades. These seemingly ordinary items were transformed into something extraordinary with the use of printmaking techniques like serigraphy and cyanotype.

The event included an activity corner where visitors were able to try their hand at various artistic techniques, including pottery, marble printing and block printing. This simple yet engaging feature allowed for a more interactive inclusive experience and introduced visitors to the different artistic techniques they might not have been exposed to otherwise. The event further featured portfolios with painting and prints by the faculty members and students which were available to view and purchase. It was heartening to see the viewers collect a piece that spoke to them.

The space also housed an animated film screening running over ten houseful shows, a one-time fashion show which embraced ancient Egyptian culture with its portrayal of historic figures, and various open mic events. The delicious dishes and beverages served with its creative titles soothed the soul and kept the energy alive.

Art Souk provided an alternative learning experience for the students of the Department of Fine Arts, in addition to their individual studio practice. In just a few hours, the calm backyard of the department had transformed itself into a lively active space of learning and communication. It was a testament to the fact that art can indeed bring people together, bridge gaps, transcend boundaries, and create a shared experience that lies beyond the binds of language and culture.

Contributed by Priyanka Sil, Guest Faculty, Department of Fine Arts