that invite touch to textiles that mesmerize, to photography that captures
fleeting moments to installations that immerse us in new worlds, visual art
embraces endless possibilities, cutting across conventional boundaries and
captivating the hearts and minds of art lovers worldwide.
On the occasion of the upcoming Maharaja’s Treasure: Select works of art from the famed Air India collection–an exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, join us in a thought-provoking panel discussion where creative minds share their unique experiences and perspectives on the multifaceted nature of artistic expression. Delve into the fascinating language of art, as we explore the profound impact it has on our lives, transcending the constraints of time and space.
Step into the enchanting realm where art breaks the physical limitations of traditional mediums, embracing countless forms and igniting human imagination.
Giulia Ambrogi is a contemporary art curator. With a Master's in History of Contemporary Art and Management of Cultural Heritage, she started her career at the contemporary art Museum - MAXXI, in Rome. Subsequently, she committed herself to spreading the culture of public and urban art, with a focus on the Italian and Indian landscape. She curated and initiated a few Street Art festivals in Italy and in 2014, she co-founded St+art India Foundation - India’s first platform for urban contemporary art. In 2018 she co-founded XXL Collective - an international creative agency that curates experiential art events for leading global brands as well as site-specific art interventions in private spaces. She has been lecturing at several universities both in Italy and India and has been invited as a speaker in TED X talks, TV shows and relevant conferences around the themes of public art and smart cities.Read more
Srila Chatterjee spent 25 years helming Highlight Films, which nurtured and furthered many a successful career in cinema, fashion, production and set design. She built teams that set the bar for production in India and helped shape the careers of some of the most successful Directors in advertising and cinema. She works now at the intersection of art, design, craft and fashion: has curated the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in its early years, co-founded blueFROG - the iconic music space, co-founded a furniture and craft-based concept store (Baro) where she curated a year-long art and cultural calendar and created an iconic brand, styles interior spaces for people who are charmed by her distinctive style and curates art experiences that are original and exhilarating. In 2020 she founded Baro Market, a very successful brand (both online and at special markets) where “authenticity” is the key to the small brands, artists, craftspeople and designers from all over the country who are showcased. Her newest passion is 47-A, the design gallery she has co-founded in the historic village of Khotachi Wadi in Bombay, where she is responsible for programming six shows a year. Her obsessions include her dogs, great food, much reading, art and craft, exciting travel, interesting people, Nadal playing tennis and F.C. Barcelona.Read more
Anjani Khanna Ceramic sculptor, curator and writer, Anjani Khanna studied ceramics with Ray Meeker at the Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry and apprenticed with master potter Ray Finch in the UK during the late 1980s. Anjani is co-founder co-curator of the Indian Ceramics Triennale and director of the Contemporary Clay Foundation and a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva. She is a recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, including grants from the India Foundation for the Arts, a Senior Fellowship from the Government of India and several awards from the Prafulla Dahanukar Foundation. She is an Arthink South Asia Fellow and was seconded to the British Ceramics Biennial as an arts management fellow. Anjani most recently was on the curatorial committee of the British Ceramics Biennial 2021. She was recently invited to speak at the annual NCECA conference in Cincinnati, USA. She has been an artist-in-residence in the US, Europe, Australia, China and in India. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally, and most recently, her work was exhibited as part of a 4 museum tour in the US. Anjani’s sculptures are found in private collections in India and abroad and are part of the collection of the FuLe International Ceramic Art Museum, in Fuping, China. Anjani studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. She worked with the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi and was the Science Editor of Down to Earth magazine in the 1990s. Anjani lives and works between Mumbai and Alibag and mostly makes large-scale figurative sculptures, often fired in a wood kiln at her studio in Alibag.Read more
Dadiba Pundole remains one of the most respected gallerists for Modern Indian Art. He is well known for his in-depth knowledge on the Modernists including Akbar Padamsee, S.H. Raza, Ram Kumar, M.F. Husain and V.S. Gaitonde. Pundole Art Gallery began representing these artists in the 1960s and added a new generation of artists when Dadiba took over the gallery in 1991. Dadiba was a consultant at Sotheby’s for their Modern Indian Art sales from 2005 to 2010 before opening Pundole’s, the auction house, in 2011. Pundole’s are well known for their auctions of Modern and Classical Indian Art as well as Estate sales that span several categories within the Decorative Arts. He is currently on the advisory board of the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, and he has also served on the advisory board of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai.Read more
Shaleen Wadhwana is an independent award-winning arts educator, researcher, and curator bringing audiences closer to South Asian history, art, heritage, and culture. Academically trained in Art History (SOAS, London) & Cultural Heritage Law (UNESCO, Geneva), her research has been showcased through The Unfiltered History Tour by Vice World News UK at the British Museum, London, and it bagged 12 awards at the Cannes Lions Festival (France) - a first time ever for India. Currently, she is based in Bombay and is curating the 60th-anniversary exhibition of Gallery Chemould Prescott Road.Read more
Birth of the Air India Art Collection
Air India’s illustrious years of art
collecting were introduced around the year 1956 with the purchase of paintings
of a recent graduate, who later turned to be an esteemed artist B Prabha. The
journey began with prints on the menu cards, followed by paintings being hung
on different outposts across the world. Air India Art Collection is one of
India’s most important art collections with works of legends such as MF Husain
and VS Gaitonde. From 1956 to the mid-2000s, the company also acquired textiles,
sculptures, wooden carvings, glass paintings, and other objects.
The Story of the Maharaja
The Maharaja- meaning emperor, also known
as ‘the Rogue’ was first conceived in 1946 by Bobby Kooka, Air-India's
commercial director, and illustrated by artist Umesh Rao. The mascot with its
unique features of oversized mustache, striped turban, corpulent belly, and
aquiline nose became the face of the airline and charmed and befriended the
airline travelers. The Maharaja put on several avatars representing stories
from across the world and became an advertising sensation in the 20th century.
Over the years it gained several negative opinions, however, Air India and the
Maharaja were able to tide through these turbulences and further enrich their
legacy together to date.
Art Beyond Canvas
Visual arts have traditionally been
associated with paintings on canvas, but the realm of artistic expression has
expanded far beyond this traditional medium. Artists today are pushing
boundaries and exploring new avenues to create captivating and
thought-provoking artworks that transcend the limitations of a two-dimensional
canvas. From installations to sculptures, digital art displays to performance
art, and mixed media projects, the possibilities for artistic exploration seem limitless.
The expansion of visual arts beyond the canvas invites viewers to engage with
art in new and exciting ways, provoking emotions, stimulating thoughts, and
challenging perceptions. The future of visual arts holds endless possibilities,
as artists continue to push boundaries and redefine the limits of artistic
About the Exhibition - Maharaja’s Treasure
‘Maharaja’s Treasure: Select works of art
from the famed Air India’, is an
exhibition curated around the meticulously collected impressive art collection
which showcases and celebrates Indian art and culture across the globe. The
collection comprises paintings and sculptures by famous artists such as V. S.
Gaitonde, B Prabha, M. F. Husain, G. R. Santosh, K. H. Ara, Piloo Pochkhanawala,
and Raghav Kaneria along with traditional paintings like Phad and Pichawai and
exquisite jewelry, textiles and other decorative art. The exhibition will be a
stepping stone to upcoming events and exhibits that will promote the artistic
heritage of the country with the help of the remarkable Air India Collection.