Art museum opens in mall, looks forward to footfalls

Kiran Nadar at her new museum
Spread over 18,000 square feet, the new Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), opened by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday, is the latest art destination in the city. Inside a mall.

Nestled behind the popular Select Citywalk Mall in Saket in South Delhi, the KNMA hopes to attract not only the art literate but also families who visit the new South Court Mall to shop.

S H Raza's Saurashtra mounted on the gallery walls is worth Rs 16 crore and the big grey elephant, covered in bindis, by artist Bharti Kher, is all of

Rs 6 crore. But curious eyes will definitely take in the life-like image of a typical Indian family on a scooter that greets the viewer at the entrance itself.

"We needed more footfall and being in Delhi ensures that. While the KNMA in Noida, at the HCL factory, was a good beginning, we wanted to be located at the heart of things. We hope people will come and be curious about art since currently entry is free for all," says Nadar, wife of HCL founder Shiv Nadar.

The collection showcased at the museum is not for sale and the venture is currently a non-profit gesture to encourage the common man's participation in art.

The show that opened the gallery has been curated by Nadar's in-house curator Rubina Karode and traces art from the early 20th Century to current times.

"The show looks at the everchanging dynamic of art and time. It looks at the vast spread of the Nadar collection. It is interesting to look at how artists ruminate the fluid boundaries of the past and future while encountering the present," says Karode.

It begins with the Progressives like Raza, Husain, Souza and moves on to look at diaspora like Anish Kapoor and Raquib Shaw, important artists from Bengal like Ganesh Pyne, others from Baroda like Bhupen Khakhar and Nilima Sheikh.

Nalini Malani and Sudarshan Shetty bring us up to speed with art that is extremely contemporary and there are younger artists like Ranjana Shettar and Jitish Kallat who represent the here and now.

Each room or partition showcases one or two large work by one or two artists so there is no sense of crowding, while the lighting gives each work a luminous glow.

"I do not have a favourite work but I am happy to see works like Saurashtra return to their motherland," says Nadar.

Given the value of the artworks housed here, the place is crawling with security guards, and visitors will have to leave their bags behind while entering this art space.

The museum will be open 10.30 am to 6.30 pm on all days except Mondays and government holidays.

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