Omnipresence – ARTPODIUM

May 20, 2022 | Xenia Bapasola

ARTPODIUM is an all-inclusive platform that promotes and showcases art from across physical and stylistic domains, presenting modern and contemporary works by both emerging artists as well as grand masters from across continents. Founded by Kavita Raha, ARTPODIUM has been at the forefront of the arts scene in Singapore hosting acclaimed exhibitions both physical and digital, while also promoting young and upcoming artists through its various formats. It also gives back to the art community through support to non-profits like Red Pencil Singapore, a charitable organization which uses art as a therapeutic intervention for children who have been unfortunate victims of trauma.

Omnipresence – ARTPODIUM

Kavita, who is an aspiring artist herself has had a keen interest in art for several decades now and it was only natural that she gravitated into the art world quite seamlessly. During her successful career as a senior Banker, she began to build a collection of works that complimented her masterful understanding of art and her keen ability to discern technique and talent. Living with her family in India, Kavita became increasingly impressed by the abundance of gifted artists hailing from her husband’s hometown of Calcutta, the birthplace of the Bengal school of art. She recognized that while in general they possessed great skill and technique, they lacked the exposure deserving of their work. Her passion called for her to rectify the situation, hosting exquisite events to connect the artists of Calcutta with curators and collectors alike from other parts of India. These exhibitions were often sold-out, and Kavita became increasingly convinced that this was where her true calling lay, more so with the values of these works having rapidly appreciated within a short period of time. The opportunity finally came in the year 2000 when she moved to Singapore with her family, allowing her to pivot away from the banking sector all together and plunge headlong into the world of visual arts. Over the past two decades Kavita Raha has established herself firmly as one of the better-known personalities in the Singapore arts scene having hosted numerous distinguished events around art, originally through Phi Events which she co-founded and subsequently through ARTPODIUM.

As 2020 heralded the emergence of a global pandemic, the arts industry faced a devastating and novel issue. An industry that relied on social engagements was left reeling in an unknown age that called for social distancing and isolation. However, the creative capacity of the arts industry knows no boundaries, and Raha was quick to champion and execute online gallery shows that brought the talents of stellar artists safely into the households of any individual with internet access. Hosting an immersive 3-D virtual art exhibition within the visual location of the Arts House Singapore, ARTPODIUM presented the works of 21 second and third generation Singaporean artists. The exhibition, the first of its kind in Singapore, invited viewers into a physical space through augmented reality, teleporting them visually into a new sphere of artistic excellence from the safety of their homes. Many of the works were created amid the pandemic, thereby also allowing the audience to feel a sense of camaraderie and solidarity with the artists even when they were physically miles apart.

In keeping with this trend, ARTPODIUM has also been an active participant in the Singapore Art Week (both in 2021 and 2022), presenting innovative virtual exhibitions such as Timeless Treasures – featuring 29 modern and contemporary Indian artists, and Timeless Affandi – featuring both Affandi, the internationally celebrated Indonesian Master and his daughter Kartika’s works in the online space for viewing, the first of its kind ever.

With social distancing restrictions lifted, next on the agenda is ARTPODIUM’s upcoming exhibition in September 2022, ‘Art Over the Years’, a curated art fair with artists and galleries from within the region.

Additionally, Raha is working on a new Art-Tech venture which aims to tackle the omnipresent threat of fraud and forgeries in the art world. Recognizing that more than half the artworks sold annually are forgeries or fraudulently obtained, she has set up Artbien, a digital platform that connects Artists, galleries & collectors and allows participants to safely transact and invest in art with the help of blockchain technology. The community looks forward to the future Raha intends to create through both ARTPODIUM and Artbien.