Gitanjali Maini interview© HelloIndia

Gitanjali Maini On The Art Ecosystem In India & More

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HELLO!: How do you feel about being recognised for your ‘Contribution Towards Building an Art Ecosystem’?

Gitanjali Maini: “I’m extremely grateful. We began 2023 on a high note, with a collaborative exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi a day before these awards. Both of these landmark events marked our progress and dedication towards developing an art ecosystem in India. I’m delighted HELLO! has recognised me for this effort and contribution.”

H!: What are we likely to see in India’s artscape this year?

GM: “We need to look out for this ‘renewed resurgence of Indianism’. Artists have taken to exploring their roots and seem to be enjoying bringing art in those styles into the markets today. We have recently seen great interest in the works of Bengal artist Kaushik Cooper, who practises traditional tempera; works by Santosh Chitragar, who makes Kinnala figures; textile works by Pragati Toshniwal; and even the work of Melbourne-based Devi Seetharam showcasing male dominance in Kerala society. These exciting fresh ideas and artists clearly show a promising and changing future for Indian art.”

H!: Share some highlights of 2022.

GM: “The biggest highlight for the Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation and Gallery G was our exhibition, ‘Revelation & Reverences: Glimpses of India’s Art Legacy between 1850 and 1950’. Through this, we acknowledged artists, art forms and art movements, many of which were unknown to some extent in this 100-year period. The next highpoint for the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation was that I was able to procure the redesign and republication rights to Raja Ravi Varma: A Portrait of an Artist, The Diary of C Raja Raja Varma by Erwin Neumayer and Christine Schelberger. It’s an important document for us to hold since it is a record of events in the lives of Ravi Varma and his brother through handwritten diary entries. For Gallery G, we were able to secure a project to execute two artworks for Bengaluru’s new airport terminal.”

Gitanjali Maini interview©HelloIndia

H!: Which projects are you most excited about this year?

GM: “The exhibition ‘Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story of Indian Cinema’ just opened at Louvre Abu Dhabi, for which the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation loaned its assets and research to the museum. The exhibition will move to Paris in September 2023. We plan to host more shows of this genre at Gallery G. It’s exciting to see the shift in the audience’s mind and their newly found liking for Indian art forms. It makes us realise that the work we do is paying off.”

H!: Your comments on South Indian achievers enjoying the spotlight today.

GM: “In more ways than one, boundaries are vanishing. One can see this effect in the way people are exposed to new experiences and thoughts. They have developed more exploratory tastes, their wants have evolved and shifted in new directions. People now have begun to embrace the south and southern values and styles into their homes and lives. I’m delighted to see this shift permeating into the arts, as well.”

H!: How do you perceive success?

GM: “My benchmark for success is ikigai — it’s simply about what makes you happy, what the world needs and how to make money from all of it. That small overlap I see between these three principles is the ikigai, or the niche that everyone needs to find. As we embarked on our 20th year of business (2022-23), we embraced ikigai as our 20-year goal. I can proudly say that we’ve now found that sweet spot.”

This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the February 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!