Bentley's brush with Indian art to promote brand
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Bentley's brush with Indian art to promote brand

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 28 February 2008, 13:38 Hrs
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New Delhi: Luxury car maker Bentley Motors has ventured into Indian art to promote and position its brand among buyers in the country.

The British company kicked off its latest initiative with an exclusive display of 21 leading artists' works in the capital Wednesday in association with the Delhi-based Polka Art Gallery.

The exhibition, themed "Grand, Arty and Classy" to match the company's Continental Flying Spur automobile model, the highest-selling Bentley vehicle in the country, was held at the company's showroom here.

The centrepiece of the exhibition was a swank black handcrafted Continental Flying Spur car emblazoned with the Flying B logo, which stole the show from art works by masters including M.F. Husain, Akbar Padamsee, Bose Krishnamachari, Paresh Maity, Paritosh Sen, S.H. Raza, Ram Kumar and latest sensations like Arzan Khambatta and Brinda Miller.

The works spanned a period of nearly 37 years from the 1970s to 2007, said Aarti Singh, curator and owner of Polka Gallery.

Satya L. Baghla, Bentley's country representative and managing director of Exclusive Motors that sells the luxury cars in India, said the partnership between Bentley Motors and Polka Art Gallery would be a long-term one.

"We are looking at several ventures because high-end art and Bentley cars make the right combination both in terms of luxury, status, prices and clientele," Bagla told the IANS.

The company intends to sponsor one exclusive art show annually and enter into bigger initiatives gradually.

Bentley is also partnering the Mumbai Boat Race and has stakes in golf and polo, Bagla said.

"The connect between the Flying B (as Bentley is popularly known) and quality Indian art is that both are artistic masterpieces. Bentleys are handcrafted and it takes nearly four months to manufacture one.

"Our buyers often look for more than just the car when they come to us; something that takes care of their aspiration and enhances lifestyle. They can afford a Husain or a Raza. So, this endeavour is primarily to boost sales and provide artistic diversity to the clients," Bagla explained.

Artists also see it as a good promotional platform.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity for artists, buyers and classy automobiles like Bentley, which is also an exquisite work, to interface on a common platform," Mumbai-based modernist Brinda Miller said.

Brinda, who received rave reviews for her series in oil on electric and eco-friendly cars at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai in February, plans to work more on automobiles provided the subject is right.

"Cars conjure up images of the fast and furious and that is how I describe my work - fast, furious and restless," the artist said.

For upcoming Mumbai-based sculptor Arzan Khambatta, known for his junk metal figures of horses, falcons and mixed shapes, it made sense.

"I am working with forged metal now and Bentley strikes a chord with superb metallic craftsmanship. It makes the right business mix," Khambatta said.

The artist, an architect by profession, is working on a series of sculptures on "forces".

Bentley, which rolled out its hand-made car in 1919 in London, has three models in India - the Continental Flying Sour (priced at 20 million), Azure (30 million) and Continental GT Speed (21 million).

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