‘Discovering something new gives me immense pleasure’

‘Discovering something new gives me immense pleasure’

By PREETI SINGH | | 23 January, 2016
Nilima Sheikh’s paintings.

Gallery Espace one of the leading art galleries in New Delhi is organizing an All Women Exhibition — Diaries Entries from 23 January to 20 February 2016.  Renu Modi, owner and founder of Gallery Espace speaks about the recent women-only exhibition at her gallery to Guardian 20.

Q. You have constantly worked for unknown artists? Where did you draw your inspiration from?
A. Being in the creative industry, discovering something new always gives me immense pleasure as well as a sense of inner satisfaction.  I feel that it’s important to promote young artists with exceptional talent.  There is no dearth of talent in this field; therefore, we at Gallery Espace continuously try to create platforms where talented people can showcase their skills. Sometimes we project their work and introduce the artists to collectors, or if required, we also provide financial assistance to them.

Q. What is this exhibition — Diaries Entries — all about?
A. As the title suggests, this exhibition seeks to engage the spirit of the diary, precisely as a place where past, present and future come together and the artist has complete control. Diaries are like the sketch book, they carry the first stroke of creative expression, the germ of an idea.
 The show talks about the shift in technology where a diary has taken the form of a mirror and each of the artists through their evocative works have put forward their personal journeys and their meaning of a diary. Each one has a different story to narrate.

Q. It is a women-only art show. How do you feel, as women artists are participating to showcase their talent?
 A. We have come a long way, earlier the contemporary Indian art scene started with about four women artists to 70 male artists, roughly, and it’s improved since then. Women have major roles to play be it in any field or sphere of life. What I enjoy the most is the way women approach all sorts of issues, especially socio - economic ones. I have done a number of shows over the years just with unknown artists; an exhibition with works just by women artists was done by Espace in the year 1997 at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi. In fact, I have also presented works just by women artists, at International Art Fairs also, for example, works by women artists from three different generations namely, Zarina Hashmi, Rina Banerjee and Chitra Ganesh was presented at the Armory Show, New York in 2013, which was also very well received.

Q. Can you tell us about the role of women in Indian art?
A. Previously in India, when a woman said she was interested in art, the assumption was that she did a bit of painting on the side, or perhaps some tie and dye. But that was a while ago, before women became aware about the creative exposures in art.  Today, we see a growing number of women entering the Indian art market to tap its huge potential. Be it as curators, gallery owners, auction house representatives and art administrators, women are omnipresent in diverse roles and are taking the industry to global markets.

Q. Diaries Entries is an unusual name. Can you elaborate on why did you choose this name?
A. The title Diary Entries was suggested by the curator — Gayatri Sinha. The concept excited me as firstly, it’s a women artist’s show and secondly it talks about the personal journey of each artist, which is very interesting.

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