Vennba studio, an experiential arts space, launches with ‘Madras Nalla Madras’ exhibition celebrating the city


Vennba Studio is an exciting new experiential art space from interior design firm Pencil and Monk, founded by interior designer, filmmaker and entrepreneur Siddharth Chandrasekhar. Drawing on the firm’s experience of providing décor and art curation services for a select clientele, Vennba Studio was launched on Madras Day, and its first exhibition, “Madras Nalla Madras” will be opened on August 24th 2020. The “Madras Nalla Madras” exhibition features limited edition digital prints by artists Sunil Raghavendher and VarshiniRamakrishnan, who celebrate the city through a celebration of its motifs, colours, architecture and people.

The exhibition will be held at Vennba Studio’s new gallery space on G.N. Chetty Road, T. Nagar. The gallery will be open responsibly during the exhibition, with safety measures in place. Visits are by appointment only and are restricted to small groups of not more than 5 people at a time. For all its offerings, including bespoke commissions, Vennba Studio operates on a tech-forward interface, which offers digital previews of commissions, collectables and installations, as well as 3D renderings and online curations of gallery events.

The exhibition presents the work ofVarshiniRamakrishnan and Sunil Raghavendher, Chennai-based artists who have made their mark. VarshiniRamakrishnan has a Masters in Luxury Accessory Design and Brand Management from Istituto Marangoni, Milan, and designed a bags and footwear collection for Moreschi which was featured in Vogue Italia and showcased during Milan Fashion Week. An Architecture graduate from NIT Trichy, Sunil Raghavender is known for his ‘Windows of Madras’ Instagram digital art series, which explores the city’s history and myriad communities through design elements used in both ordinary and heritage buildings.

“I’m a self-taught illustrator and I try to explore global themes by forging an analogy with South Indian elements that evoke a nostalgic vibe,” says VarshiniRamakrishnan, who works across different art, design and fashion forms. “I take inspiration from people, behaviours, Tamil cinema and hyper local elements of my culture. My ‘People of Madras’ series is an attempt to document the prints, patterns and people on the streets of the city. I focus on the unique and colourful fashion styles, such as patterned lungis, colour-blocked chiffon sarees, floral prints, pattern repetitions, checked and striped shirts, towels, intricately patterned nighties and other evergreen trends.”

“Shifting locations always leaves behind a pang of nostalgia,” says Sunil Raghavender, who brings together his architectural precision and his passion for cityscapes in his work in the exhibition. “Walking down the lanes of this city, my city – Chennai, mapping every corner and turn, smiling as the memories flood my brain… The memories we have of places and events are an altered version of the reality. We tend to highlight and diminish various detailing of a memory based on our attachment to it. Reimagining a nostalgic memory also involves the same process. Illustrating them puts this idea on paper, I reimagine the nostalgic buildings or windows of this beautiful city of Madras, with a splash of colour, bringing in not only the details but also the warmth attached to these memories.”

The “Madras Nalla Madras” exhibition also introduces patrons and artists to the offerings of Vennba Studio, which aims to be a conduit between buyers and creators. “The studio was established to cater to both the discerning eye of a seasoned art collector, as well as anyone who wishes to explore the form. At Vennba, you’ll find a constantly refreshed collection that recognizes varying space availability and budgets,” says Siddharth Chandrasekhar. The studio draws its name from a classical form of Tamil poetry with well-defined metric rules, a paradigm of how to bring space and aesthetics together in a harmonious way, just as Vennba Studio does.

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