On a quest to memorialise the heritage of our times, Khushboo Bagga gives HELLO! insights into what’s in store for connoisseurs at her revamped art summit.
Khushboo Bagga’s quest with art began as a collector. Travelling to art biennales and museums across the globe, she felt the inner calling to make her own, artsy city of Ahmedabad a coveted destination to celebrate contemporary art.
With a dream to bring the finest of art and dialogues around it under one artistic realm, she founded Amdavad Art é Summit, an interactive and eclectic platform to celebrate South Asian creatitivy. HELLO! speaks with her about the rebrand of the fair and what to expect.
HELLO!: Tell us a little about the Amdavad Art é Summit? What made you rebrand it from Arté Fair?
Khushboo Bagga: “As the founder-director, I’m extremely excited to present what was the Arté Fair in a new avatar. The curatorial premise of the Amdavad Art é Summit is ‘Asaasa-é-Waqt’, featuring objects that memorialise our times. Along with exhibitions, we will have a strong set of talks exploring the various aspects of India’s art, culture and heritage ecosystem.
As a foundation, we want to affect discourse. So we stepped away from the tightrope of selling and rebirthed Arté Fair as a summit, concentrating on exhibiting the best works of art, design and culture that define our times, and further the evolution of art aesthetics and ideas. With Priyanshi Saxena, our young, new curator, we endeavour to reinvigorate the cultural scene in Ahmedabad. We will highlight exclusive, exquisite works of art in indigenous mediums like textile, metal and ceramics. And with each passing edition, we will aim to explore ideas of Indianness, history, identity, and mediums further.”
H!: What kind of artists and works will the fair exhibit?
KB: “The summit will serve as a platform for artists working in indigenous mediums in a contemporary format. We’ll showcase monumental works by noted artists like Jagannath Panda, textile works by Ashdeen, and ceramic works by Eeshaan Kashyap, and will also debut any master craftspersons in the domain.”
H!: What is the USP of the summit?
KB: “We’re looking to bridge the gap between the old and the new, and aid in defining a truly nouveau Indian aesthetic and language. The summit will showcase some stellar artwork that guide in this process. We also have a strong set of conversation- exploring mediums for this. adorning the walls and serving as entertainment for both residents and visiting guests.”
H!: How involved are you in selecting the works to be showcased at the exhibit?
KB: “I’m personally involved in every aspect of the selection process, along with our curator and the council of advisors we have on board. I must highlight that it’s an all-women team.”
H!: Post covid, there appears to be a renewed interest in art. Are people buying more art today?
KB: “The pandemic was a difficult time for all of us. The lockdown made us home-bound, which saw us getting into beautifying and styling our houses. People realised the importance of having art at home adorning the walls and serving as entertainment for both residents and visiting guests.”
H!: Tell us your favourite artists.
KB: “My favourites would be Baroda- based artists Gulam and Nilima Mohammed Sheikh, whose works adorn my house in Ahmedabad. I’m also fond of Dhruv Mistry and Amit Ambalal, as well as edgy artists like Shilpa Gupta, Dia Bhupal and Gauri Gill. Textile weaving artist Rajen’s works are exemplary and beautiful. And a special shoutout to senior artist Tallur LN, who works silently with no pomp and show. Among international names, Annie Morris, Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor are among my favourites.”
H!: What do you hope to achieve with this fair?
KB: “We’re looking to affect the discourse of art in India and how Indian art is perceived here and internationally. I know it’s a tall order, but we are very passionate about this and do see the discourse gaining momentum.”
H!: What are your other interests, besides art?
KB: “I’m naturally inclined towards creativity all the time. I’m passionate about styling homes as I enjoy the appreciation I receive from guests who visit my house. I was more than 100 percent involved with all its design details — from selecting the flooring and colour palettes to deciding the mood for each room and furniture. Time and again, friends and family have asked for my opinion and ideas. I’d love to maybe take it up professionally some day. I’m also passionate about Indian classical singing and dancing, and would love to promote them through my foundation.”
H!: What are your plans after the summit?
KB: “I’d like to do more good work through my foundation, which stresses giving back to society through entrepreneurial initiatives and not through donations. We believe in equality, not charity. So the aim is to provide opportunities for the resource-constrained through projects. One such opportunity has come our way, wherein a private bank wishes to collaborate with us for their philanthropic activities in Ahmedabad. We’re looking forward to working on it after the summit.”
Amdavad Art é Summit is slated for November 25-27 in Ahmedabad, at the Kanoria Centre for Arts, the Hutheesing Visual Art and at Amdavad Ni Gufa.
This is an excerpt from an interview that was originally published in Hello! India’s November 2022 issue. To read the full interview, get your hands on the latest issue right here!