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Akara For Art

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Anindra Siqueira speaks to the owner of Akara Art Gallery, Puneet Shah, about his inaugural exhibition in the noticeably different space

With a lot of natural light seeping in and airy rooms for viewing, Akara, the hot new art gallery in town, is a breath of fresh air. Gallery owner Puneet Shah tells us that this is a setting where people can view art the way they would at home. Having been in the art business for quite a while as an art dealer and consultant, he founded Akara Art in 2009. His philosophy has always been to include a larger spectrum of artists in his curations, so Akara was a natural step forward for him. We spoke with him to find out more about the launch and what the future holds for the quirky gallery in Colaba.

What’s in the name Akara?
In Sanskrit, Akaar means shape. Art in any medium is some form or shape, so the name Akara   Art came up.

What is it about the first exhibition Mysteries of the Organism that captivated you?
The artwork exhibited in Mysteries of the Organism explores a person’s identity through  thought processes, physical structures and relationships with fellow beings. The portraits  provide an insight into the mind of the sitter, while in some work, there is an element of  mystery shrouded within the piece. The human psyche is such a complex and wonderful thing  that putting together a show whose theme reflects that was quite interesting.

Tell us more about the exhibition.
It was our inaugural exhibition curated by Girish Shahane. The artwork ranges from early  modern masters to more contemporary works of art. There is a good mix of mediums with  paintings, sculptures and a photograph too! It’s interesting to see works of art complement each  other even though they are from different time frames in history.

What would you say is unique about Akara Art Gallery?
Our gallery aims to showcase a diverse spectrum of art that includes modern and contemporary  artists, without a specific focus on either time period. There are no restrictions in the form of  only showing the artists that we represent. This will be a house of art, so to speak, with no limit  on the possibilities that it can explore. This mix allows for interesting shows and gives everyone  who visits, the opportunity to find something that appeals to their taste.

The look of the gallery is very minimalistic. What’s the story behind that? What was your line of thinking when you were setting up?
Giving each piece of work its own space in the galley is important. Our intention was to allow  the art to breathe in any space in which it was displayed. Nothing distracts from the artwork;  the minimalism allows for focus on the art and this is what enhances its beauty.

So, what’s next for Akara?
We intend to have two or three shows every a year. Once this exhibition ends, we will start work  on the next.

Can you give us a sneak peek into future shows and exhibitions? What can people expect from the gallery in the months and years to come?
We want to have well-curated, thematic shows with a mix of modern and contemporary Indian  art. We want the work to be fresh, unique and of good quality.

Dial A for Akara
Located in Churchill Chambers, which is a heritage colonial building that is over 90-years-old, Akara Art Gallery has a touch of old-world charm. In one of the picturesque by-lanes of Colaba, the building stands just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant promenade of the Gateway of India.

You can catch the inaugural show, Mysteries of the Organism, until April 15. It follows the same lines as the philosophy of the gallery, blending modern and contemporary art. The exhibition explores how the human form is inspired by nature and the relationship between the human form and the form of other creatures. You will find artwork from private collections on display here too, including those by artists Manjit Bawa, Amrita Sher-Gil, BC Sanyal, Raqib Shaw and Ravinder Reddy.

Puneet explains, “Indian art boasts of a plethora of talent, and most good artists have produced seminal works at some point in their trajectory. It is in the benefit of our culture, history and the Indian art industry that we explore the available talent and contribution made by artists in India.”

When Up to April 15, from 11.30am to 6.30pm
Where 1st Floor, 4/5 Churchill Chambers, 32 Mereweather Road, Colaba
Contact 22025550

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