Blazing a trail

Mar 04, 2016, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one taken this week in New York, featuring Nita Ambani and the legendary American artist Jeff Koons, can easily be multiplied

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one taken this week in New York, featuring Nita Ambani and the legendary American artist Jeff Koons, can easily be multiplied.

And if there’s any doubt about her preeminent position in the international arena, then this invitation says it all. For Christies to host a dinner reception in honour of Nita Ambani and the Reliance Foundation is huge.

Jeff Koons and Nita AmbaniJeff Koons and Nita Ambani

Currently in New York for a week of high powered and exclusive art and museum events, Nita, and pretty daughter Isha, are blazing a trail not witnessed before in these circles.

What’s best of all, is that Nita chose a simple and hugely elegant midnight blue sari, minimal jewellery and inherent Indian grace to embellish her moment in the international spotlight.

“ People were just dazzled not only by her presence but her knowledge and sophistication too,” is how a source puts it. Indeed.

Peer pleasure
It’s so heartwarming when colleagues, rivals, and peers take time off from their own lives and offer genuine admiration and pride in the works of others. We could not make it to the opening of Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s flagship store at Delhi’s One Style Mile near the Qutub, but were delighted to see that fellow fashion monarch Rohit Bal had been unstinting in his praise.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Rohit Bal
Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Rohit Bal

“The most beautiful store I have ever seen in my life!” Bal had posted on a social networking site yesterday. “Unbelievable! Not only is it spectacular it really is a landmark of the ingenuity of Indian design at its best.

The attention to detail, the colours, and the very soul of it it’s like heaven brought down to earth! Kudos Sabyasachi! You are truly the God of everything!”

We recall seeing a young Bal dramatically fall to his knees at a fashion show by a rival designer at the Oberoi in Mumbai many years ago and being struck by his generosity of spirit. Acknowledging, praising and supporting peers and colleagues only make us stronger we believe. Nice to see it in practice.

Souzas and Khannas
We rarely bemoan our lack of disposable income, but if there’s one time we do, it is this: a total of six drool worthy canvasses by FN Souza are going to be up for grabs in an online auction this month, including a few from the artist’s formative days, such as the pen on paper artwork titled ‘Nude Woman Sitting,’ created in 1952.

F N Souza and Krishen Khanna
F N Souza and Krishen Khanna

We recall having met the eccentric and rambunctious artist on a few occasions at the Samovar. Generally high-strung and outspoken, we would regard him with a fair amount of trepidation. But a man’s art is not his personality and as intimidating as Souza was his tender paintings of men and women and their fractious relationships were beguiling.

“These offerings are rare, indicating the beginning of something which took the shape of sheer brilliance; they are not only seminal in reference to F N Souza’s artistic journey but also with regards to the foundation of Modern Indian Art culture,” said Astaguru’s Tushar Sethi who has conceptualized the online auction, that will also see works by S H Raza, Gaganendranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Amrita Sher-Gil, K H Ara, Manjit Bawa and Jamini Roy going under the hammer.

All these are eminently covetable, but we are rooting for the Souzas. Wait, if money were not an issue and our budget stretched a bit more, we would plump for another iconic artwork: Krishen Khanna’s influential Last Supper series, going under the hammer for the first time. “ Prior to this, the painting has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art, London and it comes in tow with a hand written letter by the artist, said a spokesperson. See what we mean? Drool worthy all right!

Dreaming big dreams
Not only are hopes and dreams of women across the world pinned on Hillary becoming POTUS, consider the hopes and dreams of this ubiquitous NRI gent too: for years he’s been a campaign fund raiser and gateway to India for the Clintons, accompanying them on trips to desh and representing them with the political and corporate powers that be in India.

Hillary Clinton. Pic/AFP
Hillary Clinton. Pic/AFP

Now, with the chance of Hillary Clinton coming within kissing distance of the White House (though the possibility of her being Trumped does exist), her Indian pal has wasted no time in possible ways to garner from his big cool friend’s hope for success.

This includes ambitious expansion plans for his chain of groovy hotels. With an outpost up and running in Thailand, sources say that at least five or six new properties will open across India over the next few months.

And, of course, given its founder’s projected Washington clout, Indian authorities are sure to bend over backwards to accommodate them. That’s why we began by saying that there are many hopes and ‘dreams’ pinned on Hillary’s victory.

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