It’s Still Bright In Here

Rashmi Rajgopal summarises the eight-day Neelam Kothari jewellery event as the eve draws to a close.

Fin:  For those of you who dropped by the blog a few days ago, you’re in the know—today was the last day of Neelam Kothari Soni’s jewellery event at the Saffronart Delhi gallery. If you’re cursing yourself for having missed out on a perfectly opportune occasion to stock up your jewellery cases, you have good reason to continue whining.

The jewellery included in our collection featured rare stones, including unheated Burmese rubies–the most valuable and the rarest of their kind; Colombian emeralds, diamonds of VVS clarity–very, very slight inclusions–a classification that makes these little beauties highly sought-after. Rarity alone isn’t attractive enough. These pieces were hand-picked for being meticulously designed…and ensuring that you garner attention for looking elegant and not like you’ve accidentally been transported three centuries ahead of your time.

But fret not! The success of this event means one thing is for sure—we’ll continue with our efforts to lure you to our galleries. Wedding season is the most obvious excuse, yes, but you don’t really need a reason to purchase beautifully crafted finery. Especially when it’s meant to stay with you and succeeding generations.

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Vibha Galhotra|Alter

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart shares a note on the current exhibition of Vibha Galhotra at MK Search Art in Italy

Vibha Galhotra, Alter @ Mk Search Art, San Giovanni Valdarno

Vibha Galhotra, Alter @ Mk Search Art, San Giovanni Valdarno. Image Credit: MK Search Art

London: On December 14 “Alter”, Vibha Galhotra‘s first solo exhibition in Itlay,  was inaugurated at MK Search Art in San Giovanni Valdarno. MK Search Art has the aim to promote debates and a deeper understanding of contemporary Indian art not only within India and in relationship to Italy but also in close dialogue with the international community.

For this exhibition Vibha Galhotra, 2012 MK Search artist in residence, focused on the theme of alterations which constantly influence the notions of time, space, relations and emotions.

Galhotra’s artistic practice is deeply linked to nature and through imageries borrowed from it she discusses issues such as trans-culture, local vs global, nostalgia, existence and identity. The artist also analyzes the cultural condition in which we negotiate our position of human beings living in urban and natural environment that are constantly changing.

On display feature works of different medium and referring to different cultures, and negotiations between spiritual, scientific and spiritual world.

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The exhibition is on until January 18. For more information click here.

“Mughal India: Art, Culture & Empire” Comes To New Delhi

Elizabeth Prendiville of Saffronart discusses the British Library’s exhibition now on display in New Delhi.

New York:  This winter, the British Library has brought its exhibition “Mughal India: Art, Culture & Empire” to New Delhi. This show provides an amazing opportunity for pieces that are usually hidden in the depths of the library collection to be shown to the public for the very first time. Originally established in Britain, and then later in Kabul, Afghanistan, this collection is a strong representation of Mughal art history. The New Delhi exhibition is produced by Roli Books in conjunction with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts alongside the original curatorial team from the British Library. It will offer an opportunity for this period in Indian history to be told in a beautiful and informative way. 

The exhibition consists of paintings and alluringly illustrated manuscripts, most commissioned by the Mughal emperors and other important figureheads of the time. These pieces contribute an illustrative history of the Mughal Empire. Each piece contributes a beautiful crafted depiction of upperclass life at this point in history. Scenes of court gatherings, hunting, royal portraiture and Indian landscapes are all shown with picturesque detail. The emblematic quality of these images is rich. Each piece has a wealth of historical knowledge and narrative, even in a single image. In addition to these scenes, very rare books and manuscripts are featured in the exhibition including “Book of Affairs of Love” by Rai Anand Ram Mukhlis and “Notebook of Fragrance” by Shah Jahan. Because the British Library is not a museum with continual exhibitions, many of these pieces are rarely seen or displayed. Not only does this collection contribute to our overall knowledge of the cultural setting of Mughal India it also shows the worldview during this time period. Pivotal historical documents such as the first Indian atlas, a city map of Delhi and a trade route from Delhi to Qandahar are included.

This exhibition is a beautiful and informative retelling of the history of Mughal India. To learn more about events and publications associated with this exhibition please view the British Library website here.

It’s Rather Bright in Here

The Saffronart Delhi Gallery is brighter than usual. Give Rashmi Rajgopal a moment to pull out her sunglasses and explain. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. She’s just pretending to look cool.

Day 2: Are you passing by our Saffronart Delhi gallery and thinking, why was it so bright in there a while ago? Then you should probably come back tomorrow morning at 11am. You have until 7pm on the 24th of December, and you’re two days short already. But no, you’re too impatient, so let me just tell you what’s happening here. We’ve got celebrity-turned-designer Neelam Kothari Soni holding a special viewing of her jewellery at the gallery. The collection on display features rare Burmese rubies and Columbian emeralds interspersed among finely-cut diamonds, among other exquisitely crafted pieces. Jewellery jargon? Here’s a guide to un-jargon-ify it:

Step 1: Drop by the Saffronart Gallery between 11am and 7pm, Monday to Saturday; and on Sunday, between 11am and 4pm.

Step 2: Pull out your sunglasses…hah, got you! Take a long (and close) look at the pieces that catch your fancy. If you’d like time to consider, pop by the Saffronart Blog in a couple of days for a brief guide on the stones featuring in the collection.

Step 3:  Don’t wait too long, or someone else will be the lucky owner of these pieces.

And while you’re planning your schedule to drop by the gallery, here are some of the pieces (hopefully, still) in our collection.

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Collecting for the Public: Kiran Nadar

Aaina Bhargava of Saffronart’s take on Kiran Nadar’s future ambitions for her private museum – The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

“I have stopped thinking of art as personal.”

London: January 2010 saw the opening of the Kiran Nadar Museum in New Delhi, featuring the personal collection of avid collector Kiran Nadar.  Alongside the Devi Art Foundation, which was opened in 2008 by collector Anupam Poddar and his mother Lekha in Gurgaon, the prime function of KNMA is not only to put up the Nadars’ personal collection on display but also to provide a non-profit space dedicated to holding exhibitions for modern and contemporary art.  The goal is to foster a museum going culture and increase awareness for art in a country and city where there is a lack of art museums, especially those for modern and contemporary art. 

With an already established yet burgeoning collection, Nadar intends to move her collection out of its current location in a mall, into a purpose – built museum that will allow more works to be exhibited to the public, in the most creative and apt manner possible.  However, as favorable as the development of this new museum is, it doesn’t come without the challenge of overcoming hurdles stationed by the government.  In a recent interview with FT, Nadar stated that land acquisition for such facilities becomes a struggle and the lack of government support is curious:

“You’d think the government would look on this as an opportunity,”

However, she hopes the building will be constructed in five years time, giving her that much time to further shape and expand her collection.

Nadar’s future goals and expansion brings one to reflect on the role of the collector in the art world.  Opening private museums has been a trend of late, especially in emerging markets such as Asia.  China specifically, has seen significant growth in these new private institutions, as it is arguably the largest and fastest growing art market, it is because of this high level of investment in art that these institutions are able to exist.  Other emerging markets such as India have experienced much slower growth in the development of institutions (private or public) exhibiting art.  It is certainly in response to a major lack of public institutions, that collectors such as Nadar open up their collections to public display, and assume this responsibility to provide the public with some kind of awareness and education in regards to art, especially art that would be relevant to a younger generation.  India has one of the youngest populations in the world, thus culturally informing that generation becomes a priority.  As the government won’t assume this responsibility, it falls on other members of society, whether they be artists, curators, or in this case, collectors. 


Subodh Gupta, Lines of Control in the South Court Mall, Delhi

Subodh Gupta, Lines of Control in the South Court Mall, Delhi. Image Credit:

Raising awareness for contemporary art especially proves to be an issue in India.  One way of resolving this issue is to exhibit art in public spaces, which is exactly what Nadar did when she installed Subodh Gupta’s Lines of Control in the middle of South Court Mall in New Delhi.  The sculpture, representing an atomic bomb cloud and assembled using Gupta’s preferred materials: steel pots, pans and utensils, refers to issues between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.  Now, it is viewed by thousands of mall goers on a daily basis.  Placing artworks in malls is not a new concept, it has been done before, multiple times by artist collective Khoj.  However this again brings the artwork to the viewer, not the viewer of the artwork, which is ultimately Nadar’s goal in building a museum and creating this culture of museum going.  In order to stimulate this interest, Nadar is also changing her collection tactics:

“I used to buy art completely on a whim. Now, I still collect what I like but I look at it a little more in perspective. I would like the collection to be encyclopedic rather than episodic.”

In assembling a more visionary, academic, and wholesome collection, Nadar exemplifies the potential collectors have in influencing and attracting audiences of art.  Furthermore, her passion reflects that intentions to build private institutions go far beyond providing exhibiting spaces for large and fast growing collections and gaining tax benefits, and that they can, and do, fulfill social goals of raising cultural awareness. 

For more information about the Kiran Nadar Art Museum visit KNMA website.  

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