Bombaywaali is a series of conversations with women who celebrate the city of Bombay. In partnership with one of the hippest restaurants in the country, Bombay Canteen this series is encouraging meaningful conversations about the city we live in and the elements we imbibe and appreciate.
Today’s discussion was around art – why we are a reflect of our art and vice verse. While traditionally art has been seen as a symbol of class and power, it’s now becoming more accessible and everyday. From glass bottles to street art to expensive work that goes under the auction hammer – there’s something for everyone. A lot of interesting questions were in the play – How does art come to have the value that it does? What makes art so exclusive? How does it interact with the cultural prevalence of the times in which it is made? How is the digital revolution in the world affecting art and its value?
The first evening was held with philanthropist, Founder & Chairperson of JSW Foundation and leader of Jindal Arts Centre, Sangita Jindal. She bought her first painting when she was only 19 years old, with the money that she saved from her rakshabandhan and bhaiya-dooj collections. It was an Anjoli Ela Menon. Ever since, her love for art has only grown, with new dimensions adding up as she grew and her work expanded. She spent her childhood in Calcutta where her mother encourage her to invest in artists than jewellery.
CLASSICS TO EXPERIMENTS
She spoke about Indian artists, curators and art supporters like Tasnim Mehta, Anjoli Ela Menon, Abha Lamba, Raza all of who have made their mark across the world. But Sangita admitted the need to make art more accessible and widespread. She reflected on the need to get government and private interest in promoting art and encouraging it from a young age. Sangita emphasised the need for people to see and observe art in their own city – on the walls, by street children, explore art galleries and spend time im Museums. The Kalaghoda art festival, which Sangita herself spearheaded along with a strong team of passionate art lovers is an important milestone in the city’s art history. She is also considering starting up some private initiative for art, though the idea is still in the pipeline.
NEW FANGLED CONCEPTS
The new prospects of digital and modern art were also discussed. Sangita mentioned about this spectacular art form my Anish Kapoor, where he combines art with ‘glass, science and technique’ in his work. She emphasised on the need to experiment and get inspired by the newness in the art of established artists. Talking about the current digital revolution, Sangita opined that it does make art more accessible to more and more people, for the ones who can’t afford to own popular art, can now own digital copies of the same. It also helps to save a lot of paper through digital appreciation. She also said that art in its real form is losing a little part of its meaning, like we have lost the art of hand-writing letters to loved ones on the one hand and on the other, we seldom spend time and money to restore our heritage and architecture. “We need to find the right balance between digital and print to preserve art in its purest form.” She has spent her energies in restoring parts of World Heritage Site Hampi and constructed a replica in the Jindal industrial township of Vijaynagar in Karnataka.
When asked about her knowledge and ability to recognize and invest in art that will appreciate in value, Sangita says that there are two aspects to it. One, the beauty and multitude of meaning that the art carries. And two, the way the artist markets his work. Both have a crucial role to play and one is incomplete without the other.
Many such more events shall follow with many more perspectives on Bombay city and what its women stand for. Register now to keep in touch