"The place has a climate control system and an electronic security system," says a visibly excited Ravindra Mardia, as we walk into the soon-to-open Art Hub at Atria Mall in Worli.
Workers busy at giving the Art Hub finishing touches before space opens this weekend
Carpenters and painters are busy at work, readying the place for its opening on Saturday. With a total floor area of 10,000 sq ft, along with hanging wall space, the hub, founded by Mardia hopes to promote emerging talent in painting, photography, print making, sculpture, digital and installation art.
VT Station charcoal on canvas by Yuvraj Patil
"We plan to host a big event every month where various artists can participate. This way, the expenses will be nominalised and the space will become self-sustainable," says the industrialist, who is a curator and founder of International Creative Art Centre (ICAC), an art centre that promotes emerging artists across different media.
Untitled acrylic on canvas by Shilpa Patola
Marda shares that the owners of the mall, in the news for some years ago for facing a severe drop in foot fall at the stores, are art enthusiasts. "He isn’t charging us for the space. We will follow a revenue sharing model, depending on sales. In Mumbai, upcoming artists struggle to find exhibition space. We don’t want talented artists giving up art because they can’t afford to showcase their work," says Mardia.
Untitled acrylic on canvas by Ramesh Thord.
He speaks of waiting period at popular galleries stretching to months. " Even after that, an artist can’t sure of when he will get a slot. There are other private galleries that work only with established artists. But ours is an NGO and our aim is to showcase the work of young, upcoming artists. At least 20 artists can exhibit here every week."
Prints, created, signed and then numbered by artists will be available as limited edition works at ffordable prices.
The space will also encourage artists to create live works. "If a painting is created in front of you, you realise the labour and the thought that’s gone into it. Artists too learn from these initiatives. They see each other’s work and there is a sharing of input," says Mardia.
Saturday’s inaugural show will feature 200 shortlisted artists (of the 480 artists who applied) from across the country, including Shilpa Patole, Yuvraj Patil, Ramesh Thord, Pisurwo Jitendra Suralkar, Ritu Singh, Minal Mahajan and Poonam Kishore "Mumbai is the only place where upcoming artists do well. Delhi mainly buys established artists. Sales in Kolkata are nominal while the sales in Bangalore don’t match up to Mumbai. People come to Mumbai from all over the world to buy art. Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Sholapur, Nashik has great artists," asserts Mardia.
The Art Hub will also offer space to galleries from other cities to host their show simultaneously in Mumbai, if they wish. "This concept is popular in the West but is being introduced for the first time in India by ICAC," says Mardia.
Inaugural art show from May 15 to 22,
Time 11 am to 9 pm
At The Art Hub, Atria Mall, Dr A B Road, Worli.
Log on to www.icacart.com