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Considered India’s cultural capital, Mumbai offers a continuously developing and vibrant art scene. Alongside museums and well-established art galleries, the city has seen an exciting surge of exhibition halls and art centers, focusing on experimental and innovative art and promoting a multi-disciplinary approach to contemporary art in India. Here are the best art exhibitions in the city this summer.
The various summer exhibitions at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) showcase several solo shows of both emerging and well-known Indian artists such as Amrita Sher-Gil, Kulwant Rai and Rahul Mehrotra, as well as the best pieces of the Air India collection. The National Gallery of Modern Art opened its branch in Mumbai in 1996, and since then the bright galleries have regularly showcased the best of modern and contemporary Indian art. If you have to choose only one show, the spectacular solo exhibition of Amrita Sher-Gil, also known as India’s Frida Kahlo, is not to be missed. Currently most expensive and probably most renowned female painter in India, this enigmatic artist throughout her mysterious life and sudden death at age at 28, has captured the imagination and influenced generations of modern Indian artists.
Established by Vickram Sethi in 1990, The Arts Trust aims to promote emerging talents and well-established contemporary artists, focusing on innovative art styles and mediums. Located in the hip district of Kala Ghoda, the Institute of Contemporary Indian Art regularly displays art works from its own collection, ranging from grand masters of Indian modern art as M.F. Husain and F.N. Souza to contemporary artists like Atul Dodiya and Sonia Mehra Chawla. This summer, the gallery features the artworks of one of the leading contemporary female artists in India, Anjolie Ela Menon. A well-known muralist and Padma Shri awardee, Anjolie Ela Menon works with various mediums, ranging from glass and watercolour to oil on masonite.
1 – 31 July
Founded in 1984, Sakshi Art Gallery is one of the oldest art galleries in Mumbai. Established with an aim to introduce a more commercial approach to India’s previously hectic and chaotic modern and contemporary art market, the gallery has become one of the largest private art galleries in Mumbai and renowned center of influence in the Indian art world. This summer, the gallery features Group Show, a rather obviously titled group show displaying a variety of contemporary art works by Indian artists. Ranging from oil paintings and photographs to mixed media pieces and sculptures, the exhibition presents the latest works of Shilpa Gupta, Vivek Vilasini, Jitish Kallat and Jagganath Panda, among others.
24 July – 14 August
One of the largest exhibition spaces in Mumbai, Project 88 inhabits 4,000 square feet of a former metal printing press in Colaba district. Whilst focusing on promoting internationally acknowledged contemporary artists from all over South Asia, the gallery continues to support emerging talents of Indian contemporary art, especially when working with innovative and experimental art styles and mediums. This summer, the gallery features solo exhibition Artefacts from Below by Indian-Omani artist Radhika Khimji. The artist works with different art mediums, including sculptural cut-out works, mixed-media collages and drawings, to examine the relationship between the body, gesture and space. In her work, Khimji explores how the notion of female body has been used as a benchmark for a beauty and at the same time has been over-sexualised in public discourse.
11 June – 17 August
The exhibition Pravaha – Glimpses of the Art of the Bombay School at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as Prince of Whales Museum of Western India, provides a valuable insight in the development of so called ‘Bombay School’ from 1880s until 1950s. The Bombay School, which has influenced so many modern and contemporary artists started out with a group of young creatives who graduated from the famous Sir J.J. School of Art of Mumbai, and essentially means the synthesis of different art styles, namely academic realism, Impressionism and Post-impressionism. The term is usually applied to landscape painting, and traditional Indian art heritage such as the Ajanta cave murals and Indian miniature paintings. The Bombay School included such artists as Rustom Siodia, G.H. Nagarkar and M.K. Parandekar, as well as M.F. Hussain, K.K. Hebbar and K.H. Ara.
28 July – 23 August
A branch of a renowned Gallery Chemould, Chemould Prescott Road Gallery this summer features a lovely jewellery exhibition, Renewable Pleasures: The India Chapter, by Esther Brinkmann. One of the oldest art galleries in Mumbai, Gallery Chemould was established in 1963 and was first to showcase the artwork of now established grandees of modern and contemporary Indian art, such MF Husain, KH Ara and SH Raza. Chemould Prescott Road Gallery remains true to the commitments by its parent gallery and aims to showcase the best of contemporary art, with recent exhibitions featuring Vishal K Dar, Anju Dodiya and Pushpamala N among others. The summer exhibition of contemporary jewellerry showcases the best of Swiss artists, just recently featured in a group exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.
13 – 25 August
Since opening in October 2006, Tasveer Art Gallery has aimed to support Indian photographers and promote the art of photography in India. Showcased over 100 exhibitions throughout India and abroad, the gallery has created a vast network of art galleries between Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad, and currently represents over 25 well-known and up-and-coming Indian photographers. This season, the gallery presents the first ever exhibition in India of internationally acclaimed British fashion photographer Ram Shergill. Although more known as inventor of ‘Cool Britania’ concept and for his works for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Tatler among others, the exhibition displays a selection of photographs made by artist whilst exploring India for the book India Fantastique.
StoryLTD Industry Manor 3rd Floor Prabhadevi Mumbai 400 025
18 February – 31 August
The exhibition Taking a Line for a Walk at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum features diverse drawings by acclaimed modern and contemporary Indian artists, including Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Manjit Bawa, Sudhir Patwardhan and Laxman Shreshta, among others. The exhibition showcases 45 different drawings in order to explore the art of drawing, nowadays often sidelined by experimental art mediums and modern art forms. Despite common perception of drawing as a sketch or a preliminary draft for a ‘real’ painting, drawing is a basic, yet essential technique that provides a surprisingly vast means for an artistic expression. Curated by the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, the exhibition will run until the end of summer.
13 June – 27 September
Located in the centre of downtown Mumbai, this summer Gallery Maskara features the solo exhibition Anatomy of an Unknown Chair by artist Mansoor Ali. The artist has long been known for using chairs to express his views about the current Indian political system. Some of his works, as in the case of ‘Monument to an Unknown Politician’, questions different aspects of political system in India, be it the means to the accession to power or public belief in the political system. The unique exhibition echos the gallery’s aim to promote innovative and radical contemporary artists in India, as well encouraging more experimental and inter-disciplinary approach to contemporary art.