Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gallery Residency During Economic Recession

Shalini Sawhney, director of Guild Gallery, Mumbai is one of the best talent scouting gallerists in India. She has been identifying the young talents from the length and breadth of a vast country like India and has been nurturing them with consistent financial and moral support for over a period of ten years. A few years back, when gallery based residency programs were an unheard of thing in India, Shalini had initiated her residency programs with her protégés, who later became worth reckoning names in Indian contemporary art scene.

Claim or blame it on the global economic recession, Shalini has once again struck the art scene with her gallery based residency, but this time with a precise title and plan. Titled ‘Viewing Urban Spaces’, the residency program is conceived in two consecutive phases where the artists would work from within the gallery space, which is temporarily converted into ‘studios’. For each session a young art critic is invited to be with the artists throughout the duration of residency, who together with the gallery’s consultant art critic, Subhalakshmi Shukla would do writing workshop with the artists, besides contributing a comprehensive essay on the residency to which he/she is a part.

The first phase of the Guild residency started on 17th June and it ends on 23rd June 2009. The artists participating in this program are Ved Gupta, Kedar Dhondu, Balaji Ponna, Om Soorya, Shreyas Karle, Hemali Bhuta, Himanshu S and Remen Chopra. The critic in residence is Mohd Ahmad Sabih, a student scholar from the Aesthetic Department of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

The second phase, which starts on 25th June and end on 1st July 2009 has K.P.Reji, Sandeep Pisalkar, Satyanand Mohan, Lokesh Khodke, Bhuvanesh Gowda, Shirkant Puranik, Amitesh Srivastava and Ashutosh Bharadwaj as artists and Parvez Kabir, a lecturer in Art History at Kalabhavana, Santiniketan as critic in residence.

To add flair to the residency program and also to enrich the experience of the participating artists and scholars, Shalini has organized interactive sessions with established artists and scholars. Noted artists such as Gigi Scaria, Koushik Mukhopadhyay, Bose Krishnamachari, Vivek Vilasini, Riyas Komu, Prajakta Palav and T.V.Santhosh participate in these interactive sessions. There are film shows and poetry reading sessions too.

To a question put to Shalini Sawhney, regarding the future of such a project, she said that it is completely a personal initiative meant for boosting up the morale of the artists and related art workers. “I work on instinct. This is the time the young and upcoming artists need moral support. I make programs that are mutually beneficial. The works created in this residency program will be on view through my website and the writings produced by the writers workshops will also be published in the web magazine embedded in the gallery’s website,” Shalini said.

In Delhi Religare Arts Initiative too is on its way of establishing in-house residency programs. This residency program has four sessions with around twenty five artists and the works produced in this residency will be on view in the Arts i Gallery, during the India Art Summit slated to happen in Delhi between 19th and 22nd August 2009.

(photo courtesy The Guild Gallery, Mumbai)

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