The Loft, an art space, sits cushioned between restaurants, banks and a business school, in the premise of the buzzing Mathuradas Mills compound, Lower Parel.Walk through the door and the mustard walls transform you into the world of art, erasing the memory of the rickety taxi drive and the scorching heat.
Anupa Mehta, dressed in a peach top and white pants, greets you from amid two bronze female heads by Ravindra Reddy, Mithila art paintings, another elongated woman by photographer Maimouna Guerresi and a charcoal drawing of a man’s spine by Jogen Chowdhury. As I take a seat, the haunting image of the spine catches my attention the most.
Mehta started The Loft, eight years ago. An arts manager, curator and writer, the 47-year-old launched Anupa Mehta Arts Advisory early this month. The firm plays a multifunctional role, which will help buyers and collectors build a collection, assist re-sales, and advise architects and interior designer source pieces for their projects.
“Unlike the stock market, the art market in India has no index. No two works of the same size are priced the same, and evaluating an artwork is a very complicated process. Not all works of an artist are appreciated. And that’s where the role of an advisor comes in,” explains Mehta, who has an experience of 25 years.
“For young or amateur collectors, the initial investment value has increased. It is always better to make an informed decision while investing in art. India has over a thousand artists, and one’s taste is equally valid as anyone else’s. But, there is a benchmark, criteria and validity of an art work,” explains Mehta, who adds that she gets two types of buyers.
“There are some buyers who will give me their budget and leave the decision to me, and then there are those who take interest in the piece they buy. I accompany them to auctions, exhibitions and send them catalogues. It helps them understand the artists works - is he a seasoned artist, or just starting out and how have his works evolved,” explains Mehta, She adds that an artist is valued according to where he has displayed his works, be it a museum, or an exhibition, and alsoon his collectors.
It doesn’t end here. Mehta also travels across the country making studio visits and catching up with upcoming as well as seasoned artists. “As an art facilitator, it is my job to keep in touch with artists, follow their work, understand the transition of the medium they work in and study their career graph,” she explains, adding that collectors treat art as one would treat heirloom jewellery, and prefer to leave it as a legacy.
Ask her the first approach to buying arts, and Mehta advises one should buy what they like. “A piece has its inherent value and even if it doesn’t appreciate in value, you will have bought something you like to look at,” Mehta signs off.
Anupa Mehta Arts Advisory will host its first exhibition at The Loft, starting June 1. The works include a photograph by Maimouna Guerresi, a bronze sculptures by Ravindra Reddy, and a drawing by Jogen Chowdhury.