The event focused on the transformation of gallery practice, its contexts and directions, with special reference to the way in which some of the city's major galleries have negotiated their activity in recent years. We saw how each one has successfully oriented their practice in various ways - Dadiba Pundole within the auction framework (Pundole’s), Shireen Gandhy (Gallery Chemould) towards the art fair circuit, and Sree Goswami's (Project 88) deep engagement with individual artists and their expanded practices.
Shireen Gandhy owns one of Mumbai’s oldest commercial art spaces– Chemould Gallery. Chemould is one of Mumbai’s oldest galleries, which was founded by her parents Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy. Shireen joined her parents in 1988 and added a new dynamism to its programme by spearheading a particular focus on young emerging artists with an experimental and interdisciplinary approach to practice and media. The artists represented within the stable of the gallery represent the very contemporary nature of the nation as it stands today, addressing issues of the national and the global as seen in the works of Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Shilpa Gupta; as also being interested in artists who work with references to tradition and materiality as in the case of Nilima Sheikh and Desmond Lazaro. The gallery’s special interest in artists who work in installations, performance and new media is represented through the works of L.N. Tallur, Vivan Sundaram and Pushpamala N. amongst others. In its 52nd year and counting, the gallery remains to be relevant with a robust contemporary programme – and a roster of artists who’s work is in the forefront of both the national and international art scene. Shireen has pushed the gallery space further into the art fair space in India and abroad: Art Basel, Hongkong; Art Based, Dubai; India Art Fair to name a few.
The daughter product of Galerie88 in Kolkata, Sree Goswami established Project 88 in Mumbai in 2006. Though exposed to the functioning of an art gallery from an early age, it was after completing her Diploma in Contemporary Art from the Sotheby’s Institute in London that she decided to venture into contemporary art. Through Project 88, her aim has been to seek out emerging talent and showcase it alongside more established Indian and international artists. Since its establishment, Project 88’s programme has systematically pushed the boundaries of a commercial space by showcasing cutting-edge video art, performances and photography apart from paintings and installations. The gallery regularly participates in various art fairs, including Frieze, Arco, Hong Kong Art Fair, Art Dubai, and India Art Fair. Many of its artists are in major international collections and are featured regularly in the most prestigious biennales and museum shows.
Dadiba Pundole owns one of Mumbai’s oldest commercial art spaces – Pundole Gallery. Pundole is one of Mumbai’s oldest galleries, which his father Kali Pundole set up. He began his career as a gallerist in 1980. He is recognised in the field for his in-depth knowledge on the Indian Modernists including Vasudev S. Gaitonde, Akbar Padamsee, S.H. Raza, Ram Kumar, M.F. Husain and F.N. Souza. Pundole Art Gallery began representing these artists in the 1960s. Dadiba was a consultant at Sotheby’s for their Modern Indian Art sales from 2005 to 2010. Dadiba has taken Pundole to new spaces and new places; and has transformed the gallery into a very successful auction house and now to yet another gallery in Dubai.
Ranjit Hoskote is a cultural theorist, curator and poet based in Mumbai. He is the author of 30 books, including a biography of Jehangir Sabavala, Pilgrim, Exile, Sorcerer (Eminence Designs, 1998), and numerous monographs, among them The Complicit Observer: The Art of Sudhir Patwardhan (Eminence Designs, 2004), Zinny & Maidagan: Compartment/ Das Abteil (Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/ Walther König, 2010), and Atul Dodiya (Prestel, 2014). With Nancy Adajania, he is co-author of The Dialogues Series (Popular, 2011), an unfolding programme of conversations with artists. With Maria Hlavajova, he is editor of Future Publics: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art (BAK/Valiz, 2015).
Hoskote curated India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011), co-curated the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008), and was co-convenor of Documents, Constellations, Prospects (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2013). His exhibitions include Bombay: Labyrinth/ Laboratory (Japan Foundation, Tokyo, 2001), a mid-career retrospective of Atul Dodiya; Jehangir Sabavala, a lifetime retrospective (NGMA Mumbai & Delhi, 2005-2006); Unpacking the Studio: Celebrating the Jehangir Sabavala Bequest (CSMVS/ JNAF, 2015), and No Parsi is an Island (with Nancy Adajania; NGMA Mumbai, 2013 & NGMA Delhi, 2016).