The pandemic has changed the way the world lives, and like many spaces, art galleries, too, have had to bear the brunt of COVID. Many art galleries in India and in Hyderabad have taken to giving a virtual experience to their viewers and those intending to buy art. However, Kalakriti art gallery has gone a step further and is offering a phygital experience to its audiences.
They have combined physical and digital experience by including elements of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI). The gallery that was started in 2002 has now shifted to a new address on Road No 4, Banjara Hills. The idea is to use the multi-level space as a cultural hub and will be used to host art events, talks, book readings, and cultural performances.
The 4000 sq ft gallery space on the ground floor can host three exhibitions at a time and offer a seamless digital experience. Presently, on view are paintings by Muzaffar Ali titled 'The Other Side.' One can scan a QR code to access additional videos delineating the concept of paintings and their prices. One can remotely view the shows at https://terapact/kalakriti. One can use a VR headset to walk through the gallery virtually.
According to gallery owners Prshant and Rekha Lahoti, going phygital is an ongoing process and is one-of-its-kind in India. Also in the pipeline is an app Art Cafe, through which a wide variety of items can be ordered from a catalog. The website kalakritiartgallery.com is also being upgraded to be one step ahead in these testing times.
While Kalakriti houses original works of big-time artists, right now, it is on the brink of providing a platform for affordable decor art and art for corporate gifting. So, one can look forward to tableware, furnishings, furniture, limited edition prints, coffee table books, and fashion accessories, to name a few. The duo who run the gallery, share that all their paintings and sculptures in their inventory have radio frequency identification (RFID). They add that they are working on enabling in-built augmented reality so that a potential buyer can project a painting on their wall before making the purchase.
Both Prshant and Rekha Lahotia are confident that this phygital construct of theirs will be more commonplace in the Indian art scene in years to come.