The rise of young collectors, enthusiasts, philanthropists, curators, entrepreneurs, new gallerists, and exhibition designers in India is an indication that the art ecosystem is thriving. Not only in Mumbai and Delhi, a number of new online art galleries, commercial spaces, institutions, and museums are also mushrooming in cities like Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, and Baroda. More than ever, the younger generation seems eager to explore and work in the field of visual arts.
Today, there are numerous women that are invigorating India’s art scene with their powerful opinions and redefining the whole system in their own unique demeanor.
Here’s a comprehensive list of 5 leading ladies running the Indian art scene:
An art patron, philanthropist, columnist, businesswoman, former model, and media personality, Feroze Gujral is something of an Indian icon. She started The Gujral Foundation in 2008 and Outset India in 2010. Both her philanthropic organizations are dedicated to supporting arts and culture in India and have supported numerous cardinal projects including the Kochi Biennale, the exhibition of work by V. S. Gaitonde, renowned Indian artist, at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2014, and the acclaimed India-Pakistan pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.
Her foundations also invite, bi-annually, a prominent artist to transform and showcase his/her works at the Delhi’s 24, Jor Bagh, popularly known as freedom house. Her support has marked a significant change in the engagement of art with the city, sharpened the distinction between private and public spaces, and provided a strong impetus to the development of non-traditional exhibition spaces.
An independent curator and art management consultant, Pooja Sood is the founding member of Khoj International Artists’Association. She has also worked as the director-general of the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur. With a focus on exploring the new and experimenting with interdisciplinary forms of creative art practices, Khoj has become an alternative incubation space and built a powerful reputation, both nationally and globally, having drawn collaborations with the famous Swiss curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist and London’s Tate Modern.
During her decades-long tryst with the arts, she has donned many arts and worked diligently to develop various forms of art such as media art, performance, video, environmental, public and community-based art, and more. Her contribution in curating alternative contemporary art practices and other experimental modes of art is also well-known.
An avid art collector and philanthropist, Kiran Nadar is the founder of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation. She started her eponymous museum to share her private art collection with the public, it gradually became a place for a lot more through its exhibitions, seminars, talks, workshops, and public programs— a place of confluence.
With an aim to bridge the gap between art and the public, her organization supports a holistic program of art from the region, from iconic shows of work by the artist Nasreen Mohamedi(whose solo show features in the inaugural display of New York’s Met Breuer) and avant-garde artist Amrita Sher-Gil to an exhibition of well-known contemporary women artists.
Art collector and gallerist, Amrita Jhaveri is the co-founder of Jhaveri Contemporary in 2010. She along with her sister Priya works on aspects of modern and contemporary Indian art and provides a platform to artists, across generations and nationalities. The gallery’s commitment to the creation of original scholarship, engendered through its carefully curated exhibitions and shows, helped it carve its own distinct palace in the art world. It showcases the heterogeneous practices of long-celebrated luminaries of art as well as emerging artists, often in generously interrogative talks and conversations. She has been instrumental in establishing a British auction house, Christie’s presence in India in the mid-1990s.
She is also on the board of a non-profit organization, Point of View, which builds and promotes pins of view of women and other marginalized genders through creative and sustained use of media, art, and culture. Her work on gender rights and sexuality is well- appreciated in the country.
Farah Siddiqui Khan
With fifteen years of experience in Modern and Contemporary South Asian art including paintings, sculptures, and photography, Farah Siddiqui Khan is an art polymath, curator, consultant, private dealer, and columnist.
She founded the art advisory FSCA (Farah Siddiqui Contemporary Art) in 2004. In the last decade, she has built and managed some of the most important collections of Indian art globally. Having the experience of curating several successful exhibitions across the globe, she is often invited by prestigious educational institutions and discussion panels for conducting seminars, workshops, interrogative talks on contemporary art. She has also been actively involved with fundraising activities for charity for several prestigious organizations, including Elephant Family which is UK’s biggest funder of conservation efforts for the endangered Asian elephant, and now also serves on the board of foundation’s office in India.