Go beyond the rut and reinvent yourself: Lakshmi Nambiar of Anthill Ventures and Shrishti Art Gallery
In Part II of our photo essay on Hyderabad’s reputed gallery, we feature more works of artists, along with insights on the importance and impact of art.
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 210 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Over the past 16 years, Shrishti Art Gallery has emerged as one of Hyderabad’s premier hubs for contemporary art (see Part I of our photo essay here). In Part II, we feature the works of artists such as Pradeep Vadher, Mohammed Gous Pasha, Asgar Ali, George Kuruvilla, Laxma Goud, Balagopalan, EG Chitra, PR Mohanty, Supriya Das, Pradeep Kambathalli, Chippa Sudhakar, Karl Antao, Saravanan Parasuraman, Murali Cheeroth, Anoop Panicker, Shiv Verma, Jeetu Ojha, and Shivarama Chary.
The gallery director and curator is Lakshmi Nambiar, who is also a Partner at Anthill Ventures, an institutional member with Hyderabad Angels. She has over a decade of experience in private equity syndication, mergers and acquisitions for technology companies in India and abroad.
Lakshmi was a partner at Technology Holdings, an investment bank based out of New York, leading their India practice, and was earlier Vice President at Avendus Capital. She graduated from Boston University School of Management, Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics (Pune), and St Francis College for Women (Hyderabad).
“My mother, Remani Nambiar was also an artist, and founded the Hyderabad chapter of Ikebana International. She later founded the art gallery Shrishti,” said Lakshmi, in a chat with YourStory.
Unfortunately, her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and Lakshmi decided to move from Bengaluru to Hyderabad to be with her and look after the gallery. After her mother passed away in 2015, Lakshmi carried on the art tradition, and launched the annual exhibition Ramaniyam (beautiful) in her mother's memory.
“I realised I had big shoes to step into,” recalls Lakshmi, of her move from Bengaluru to Hyderabad to run the gallery and launch new shows. For example, one of the annual exhibitions focused on consumer culture and its effects.
“The culture of hyper-consumersim is damaging to the mind and to the environment,” explains Lakshmi, pointing to some provocative works of up-cycled art. Other shows have focused on emerging art styles, carpets and tribal art.
The world of art
“Galleries may have an elitist image, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” says Lakshmi, urging people to visit often. “Expose yourself to art even if you can’t seem to understand it at first. When you immerse in art, it triggers off positive subconscious effects in your mind. The more you look, the more you will understand,” she adds.
It is also OK to not like a particular piece of art. “This is a step in developing your own sense of likes and dislikes, which itself may change over time,” Lakshmi explains. People need to value art as much as they value expensive branded consumer goods. “Art in your home is not just about you and your guests, but about children also and how it will inspire them in life,” she adds.
“Creative works can impact everyone around them. Fortunately, the younger generation is being exposed to good design and art,” Lakshmi observes. The gallery hosts art classes for adults as well as workshop for children. Her own seven-year old daughter is a fan of art.
“The market for artists is very competitive. Artists should look at going beyond commercial success,” Lakshmi advises. They need to keep evolving to go beyond the rut, and reinvent themselves. Artists themselves need to visit more art galleries.
Exposure to art is absolutely important for those who want to enter fields like design and UX, according to Lakshmi. Art and design skills are good for the emergence of excellence in the product sector.
“Success will come from seeing the entire city appreciate art,” says Lakshmi. Urban environments need to be enhanced with art, both local and international. Thanks to collaboration with the Goethe Institute, some Indian artists have also joined a creative residency programme in Germany.
The gallery organises six to seven shows a year. One of her projects this year is launching a book for children, featuring positive role models from India and including the works of 51 women artists.
The road ahead
Future plans include increasing awareness about art as an investment asset class, organising more high-profile shows, and scaling up via e-commerce. Events are also planned for interior designers who are major influencers in increasing art appreciation for their clients.
Lakshmi has not given up the investment and startup side of her career, however – she does not see the choice of business and art as “either-or” but “and.” She spends two days a week on investments and mentorship for over two dozen startups at Anthill Ventures. Her husband, Jay Krishnan, is also the CEO of Telangana’s T-Hub, one of India’s largest startup incubators.
“Art is a meditative process. It leaves the artist and the viewer thinking about the patterns and randomness in life. What does art impart? Happiness and fulfilment,” Lakshmi signs off.
Now what have you done today to find those sweet spots that cover business as well as artistic pursuits?
Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!