Meet the artist and author working for women empowerment in the field of art
Dr Meenu Kumar, Director, Cosmo Arts (India) is one of the most vibrant and dynamic personalities in the field of art. She is a well-known art curator, artist, social activist and art critic
Dr Meenu Kumar, Director, Cosmo Arts (India) is one of the most vibrant and dynamic personalities in the field of art. She possesses a discerning eye for art in different genres and is a well-known art curator, artist, social activist and art critic. She is the founder of Cosmo Arts India Gallery and NGO Cos We Care and is also Vice President for Indian region at Oisca International, a Japanese NGO with consultative status with United Nations.
Dr Meenu Kumar holds a doctorate in Multimedia and has authored many books on the subject. She is a feminist at heart and her creations reflect the need for physical, mental, and emotional freedom and empowerment of women in society. 'Passionate Pursuit of Visual Poetry', a book that she co-authored with a British writer, Marlyn Rushtin, dwells upon her deep perception of art. Her artistic voyage is a cosmic endeavor to glorify the art of today. She is also running a movement called 'She Shakti' to empower young and women artists. She has received many awards and accolades.
Tell us more about Cosmo Arts (India). What is your definition of art?
Art transcends all cultural and human boundaries. A good piece of art not only adorns the space but also instills immense positive vibes and energy. We see art through our senses but It’s not a mere visual connection; it touches our soul and inner being. Art makes our life complete. The art that we possess not only adds value to the ambience but also reflects our personality.
What factors influenced or motivated you to create a hub for art lovers and artists? What prompted you to start an art gallery?
Cosmo Arts India Gallery is a treasure trove of artworks of masters, renowned contemporaries, and young talents in the field of art.
I am a writer and self-taught artist and have always been painting, and my inclination towards art made me explore art even further and I started writing about art. I have also authored a book on art titled, Passionate Pursuit of Visual Poetry and it is available on Amazon.
Gradually, I got in touch with many artists and the idea of putting their works under one umbrella ignited the idea of starting an Art Gallery.
What were the first few steps during and after the launch of Cosmo Arts (India)?
The first few steps were to organise some exhibitions and art shows. The initial few steps are always tough but one has to move on. I tried to encompass young talents in the art field as well.
Have you raised funds so far?
I haven’t raised any funds, and so far, our venture has been self-funded.
Tell us about your motivation. What keeps you going?
I get my motivation from ‘Cos We Care’ which is a social welfare NGO I run to support specially-abled and economically deprived talents in the art field. My mother and brother have also been my motivation in this journey. They’ve always supported my decisions and given me the power to break the stereotypes. Encouraging and engaging young artists with special needs wasn't an easy call but thanks to their support, I have been able to do it.
How has your journey been so far?
When you work with utmost honesty and passion, you always get a sound sleep at the end of the day. So despite all the obstacles that I’ve faced, the inner fire to do something different – to present art for the cause of women empowerment – made it more meaningful.
How big is your team? How did you manage your team and business during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Plenty of big names in the art field are fortunately associated with our gallery; still, a small team of young talents is always there walking hand-in-hand with us. We are engaged in supporting young talents, specially-abled artists, female artists, etc. Moreover, we are the pioneers of ‘She Shakti’ - an art campaign for supporting women and setting them free from their constraints through art. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the art field has suffered a major setback. Art exhibitions and events have come to a halt altogether. We have, however, managed to compensate through online portals and social media handles.
How Cosmo Arts (India) is giving back to society?
Besides supporting the specially-abled artists and other artists from marginalized communities, we’re also devoted to being eco-friendly by using pre-used substances to create art pieces. Old discarded mannequins, paper mache, scrap metal pieces, etc. are some of the materials we use.
What kind of services does your Art Advisory team provide? How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?
Our art advisory helps people in exploring their taste for art. We never impose our knowledge or choices but we make them understand their requirements. We present an array of artworks of varied themes, colors, sizes, and genres. The buyers are made to understand the story behind every artwork and then they decide what they want to take home with them.
We also specialize in Vastu compliant and chromo healing special artworks. During the festive season, we offer special discounts as well on the artworks by our young talents to encourage them. What makes us different is our flexibility. You tell us your budget and we will offer you a bouquet of artworks to choose from. Our in-house affordable art concept makes us different from others and this has made us have a good alliance with architects and interior designers.
What are the business opportunities in the art market especially in the Indian context? How do you see growth and market response in a post-COVID world?
When you are a small fish fighting with big crocodiles, it is a very difficult task. But I feel nothing is impossible. If you have some uniqueness within you, you’ll always stand out and create a niche for yourself. Indian Art Market is picking up slowly post-Covid. People have gotten more interested in home decor because they're spending so much of their time at home due to quarantine. At the same time though, they want budget art. We specialize in the same; so we, as an art gallery, have a bright future. We also intend to excel in creating and launching a range of beautiful art accessories - scarves, necklaces, shrugs, etc. This will help us reach out to more customers in the market.
Being a startup, what do you think is the biggest challenge in India?
Funding is a major issue and the government should encourage startups with a social bend of mind. Infrastructure costs and the costs of art supplies are way too much, so the government should create more platforms for such initiatives.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Cosmo Arts will engage young talents from AR and VR and try to give new dimensions to the art field. Also, we want to come up with more eco-friendly ideas for creating art. I see Cosmo Arts as a hub of not only Indian but global artworks with a special space for young talents like it has always had.
Elaborate on awards and achievements, if any?
Womennovator Best Indian Entrepreneur Award 2020 and Womenenovator 1000 Asian Women Faces Award 2021 are my cherished achievements that I’m very proud of. It is not something that is my goal, but I do appreciate picking up those cherries while I go along my journey.
What is your message or leadership lesson for budding entrepreneurs and emerging artists?
A true leader is someone who inspires the team to achieve something big. She leads through example. I always motivate my team but I also respect their individuality, I believe that we all learn from one another at every step. Path to success is never easy; obstacles do rattle you, but we should muster up the courage and keep moving towards the pinnacle.