The Pride Of India's Arts Scene: Mumbai's Best Art Galleries

Jess Dawdy

India’s contemporary art scene has been gaining significant momentum over recent years, and Mumbai is one of the cities found at the heart of the movement. Drawing on the city’s enigmatic mix of chaos and sophistication, Mumbai’s galleries are creating a growing platform for emerging artists, whilst also helping established masters gain international recognition. We’re revisiting Mumbai’s ten best contemporary art galleries.

1. Gallery Maskara

Art Gallery

Gallery Maskara’s mission is to approach art from a ‘global and multidisciplinary’ perspective, promoting artistic dialogue and collaboration across cultural boundaries. Favouring avant-garde and edgy work, the gallery focuses on art that reflects modern culture and encourages public engagement. Owner Abhay Maskara aims to showcase the work of artists from around the world, often featuring controversial projects considered too risky for other galleries. Gallery Maskara is set in a former cotton warehouse, which has been renovated to incorporate modern elements while still preserving its historic character. This enormous 3,250 square foot building is a unique and flexible space, adaptable to a diverse range of exhibitions.

Cymroza Art Gallery

Opened in 1971, Cymroza Art Gallery has played an important role in introducing numerous talented Indian artists to Mumbai’s art scene. The gallery represents more than one hundred artists working in varied mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, print-making, ceramics, and even weaving. In addition to hosting solo and group exhibitions, the gallery hosts regular lectures and workshops. It aims to make art accessible for connoisseurs and novices alike through educational programming and exhibits of affordable art.

The Guild Art Gallery

Opened in 1997, the Guild works with emerging and mid-career artists, seeking out innovative and cutting-edge projects. The gallery’s focus on critical and rigorous art drives its diverse program of exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, and panels. It represents a diverse group of artists from India and around the world, many of whom have been featured in art magazines, journals and newspapers. The Guild regularly publishes art catalogues and books, in addition to exhibiting work in its gallery space and at art fairs. The gallery has gained an international reputation for nurturing up-and-coming artists, by providing a space where they can take risks with ambitious projects.

The Guild Art Gallery, 28, 3rd Pasta Lane, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba, Mumbai +91 22 2288 0195

2. Lakeeren: The Contemporary Art Gallery

Art Gallery

Lakeeren takes its name from an Urdu word meaning ‘lines’, reflecting its philosophy of crossing over the lines, boundaries or thresholds that exist within the art world. The gallery showcases edgy, contemporary works in a variety of mediums, including paintings, sculpture, video and photography. Founder/director Arshiya Lokhandwala has a PhD in Art History from Cornell University and her academic background drives her dedication to present art that addresses contemporary political and social issues. The gallery exhibits the work of emerging South Asian artists, and also hosts a regular lecture series aimed at providing art-related education to the general public.

3. Jehangir Art Gallery

Art Gallery

Founded in 1952, Jehangir Art Gallery is one of the oldest and most prestigious art galleries in Mumbai. The gallery showcases the work of local artists and students, with periodic exhibitions by internationally-acclaimed artists. It is home to four large exhibition halls and artists also often display their work on the sidewalk outside. Jehangir Art Gallery positions itself as an important centre for contemporary art within the local community, organizing regular programs on art appreciation, criticism and history, in addition to its regular exhibitions.

4. Project 88

Art Gallery

Opened in 2006, Project 88 is dedicated to presenting shows by some of the most radical and intelligent artists from India and around the world. The gallery works with a number of internationally-acclaimed mid-career artists, while also fostering up-and-coming talent. Project 88 is set in a 19th-century former printing press, a unique space featuring exposed beams and iron pillars. This enormous exhibition area is ideal for ambitious and large-scale projects by the gallery’s artists. In addition to presenting regular exhibitions, the gallery participates in numerous prestigious art fairs across the globe, collaborates with galleries worldwide and hosts artistic residencies.

5. Studio3 Art Gallery

Art Gallery

Studio3 Art Gallery aims to foster emerging artists, not just by hosting exhibitions but by guiding their work to the next level and encouraging imaginative artistic visions. Opened in 2002, the gallery focuses on contemporary and modern Indian paintings, showcasing varied styles that range from abstract to landscapes. The gallery represents artists working in a variety of mediums, including acrylic, watercolour, oil, charcoal and mixed media. The gallery collaborates with a number of established artists, including New Delhi-based painter Paresh Maity and artist Suhas Roy whose work has been exhibited widely across India and overseas.

6. Tao Art Gallery

Art Gallery

Tao Art Gallery emphasizes creative expression and thought-provoking art, showcasing a diverse mix of contemporary projects created by artists of all levels. Opened in 2000, the gallery’s flexible exhibition space is divided into two areas, ideal for the innovative artistic mediums it presents. The gallery collaborates with artists working in a range of mediums, including painting, photography and sculpture, as well as more progressive installation, video and performance art. The gallery showcases artists in its exhibition spaces, while also working to promote Indian art on the global art market, curating shows in cities like London, Tokyo, and Singapore.

7. Volte

Volte

Volte is one of the top contemporary gallery’s India, garnering widespread acclaim for pushing the boundaries of Indian art. The gallery represents established South Asian and international artists working in varied mediums from painting and installation, to video and performance. Opened in 2009, owner Tushar Jiwarajka has organized a series of ground-breaking shows in the gallery’s exhibition space, a 3,000 square foot Victorian warehouse. The gallery tends to favour art that is surreal and strange, setting it apart from other contemporary galleries and establishing its unique artistic identity.

Volte, 202,2nd Floor, Sumer Kendra, PB Marg,Worli, Mumbai +91 22 4096 3300

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