How this art gallery has promoted ‘curiosity, connection, and conversation’ for 20 years

In our second photo essay on the Tao Art Gallery, we feature more artworks along with insights from creative director Sanjana Shah.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 465 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Mumbai’s Tao Art Gallery in Worli, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, recently hosted an exhibition titled The Tapestry of Time. It featured the works of 70 artists, priced from below Rs 1 lakh up to Rs 70 lakh.

“The foundational vision of Tao was to work for the cause of creative expression and help bridge the gap between artists and the audience. As a platform for the arts it is our duty to curate, connect, and convey,” explains creative director Sanjana Shah, in a chat with YourStory (see Part I of our interview here).

Earlier art exhibitions held at Tao in 2019 included Moment of Awareness (by Anwar), Landscapes (Vipul Prajapati and Debashish Dutta), Champions of Change (Jai Vakeel Foundation), Boomerang (Michal Raz and Viraj Mithani), Subverting Duchamp (Shakti Maira), The Geist (Ravi Mandlik), Independent @73, Save The Tiger, Words of Silence, The Allure of India, and Miniature Paintings.

The gallery also hosts workshops, panels, and talks on art. “I started the #EducateForArt movement in 2018 with the aim of promoting more knowledge of art in India,” Sanjana recalls. This was driven by increased international exposure, a global art network, and fascination with all things aesthetic.

“People are increasingly interested in what art is and how to make sense of it,” she observes. The initiative consists of a holistic art education module that covers knowledge-based topics like Art Appreciation & History as well as more technical areas like Art Movements & StylesArt Buying, Selling & Maintenance.

All the sessions are taught via an expert series featuring artists and art critics. “Through this, we hope to bring together and build a like-minded community of people passionate about art,” Sanjana adds.

This community includes young students yearning to learn more, earning professionals looking to start their own collection, and veterans just looking for some creative food-for-thought.

The artist lineup for the current exhibition, some of whose works are included in the photo essay, features Ali Akbar Mehta, Arpana Caur, Bose Krishnamachari, G. R. Iranna, Indrapramit Roy, Jayasri Burman, Khanjan Dalal, Lalitha Lajmi, Mehul Rathod, Nayanaa Kanodia, Ratan Krishna Saha, Rini Dhumal, Seema Kohli, Sharad Sonkusale, Somenath Maity, and Vasundhara Tiwari.

(Note: These photographs were taken before the national lockdown due to the coronavirus, and the visit to the gallery was not in violation of any public safety guidelines. In future editions of this column, we will explore the response of the artistic community to the COVID-19 crisis.)

Sanjana urges audiences to spend more time in immersion and appreciation of art. Investing in art calls for building a connection with the artist in the long run. Curators play an important role here in sparking the curiosity of audiences, and engaging them in conversations about the artistic process and impact, she explains.

“Art belongs as much to the audience that interacts with it as it does to the artist who creates it. It holds a deeper meaning in its making – and that is the desire to express and relate to others and the way we absorb the world around us,” Sanjana affirms.

Art is therefore both a reflection of internal mind space, as well as an exploration of the outward impact of the artwork.

Putting together the 20th anniversary exhibition has been an immensely satisfying experience for the entire gallery team. “Looking back, there is nostalgia. Looking forward, there is anticipation. But today, there is only gratitude,” Sanjana signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and unleash your inner creative core?

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(Edited by Suman Singh)

Edited by Suman Singh


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