Celebrating 16 artistic years in Worli

Feb 09, 2016, 08:16 IST | Hassan M Kamal

Worli’s Tao Art Gallery celebrates turning 16 with a new show of old and new masters

Situated at a corner overlooking the Haji Ali Durgah, and the Nehru Centre behind it, the Tao Art gallery in Worli continues to stand tall despite a recession that seems to be nearing a decade. The gallery, which completes 16 years, has a lot to cherish.

(Left-right, seated) Indian masters Jehangir Nicholson, Krishen Khanna, MF Husain, SH Raza, Tyeb Mehta and Bal Chhabda; (standing) Kalpana Shah and Ashok Vajpeyi at Tao Art Gallery in 2001
(Left-right, seated) Indian masters Jehangir Nicholson, Krishen Khanna, MF Husain, SH Raza, Tyeb Mehta and Bal Chhabda; (standing) Kalpana Shah and Ashok Vajpeyi at Tao Art Gallery in 2001

“It started as a dream in 1992, but it would take another eight years to make it happen. We spent a lot of time looking for the right location,” recalls Kalpana Shah, founder. The gallery opened its doors at Sarjan Plaza in Worli in 2000 with a group show called Sacred Space. A year later, it hosted Ashtanayak, a group show featuring Akbar Padamsee, Bal Chhabda, Krishen Khanna, MF Husain, Ram Kumar, SH Raza, Tyeb Mehta and VS Gaitonde.

An untitled artwork by Jayasri Burman
An untitled artwork by Jayasri Burman

The gallery’s collaboration with these Indian masters continued with Tao becoming a favourite space for several veterans including Raza and Husain, who would later also host solo shows. “I have gathered immense knowledge and experience from the masters, mostly Husain and Raza, while working with them on their shows. We would chat for hours  sharing our vision, and curating the show. It was a great learning experience,” she admits.


Create a new canvas
A self-taught artist, curator and collector, Shah, while growing up, hadn’t imagined that art would become an important part of her life. “I was brought up in a family with almost no art around. The only exposure I had was in school, and later on a hobby. I don’t know what I would have done in my life, if not (nurtured) Tao,” she adds.

After four successful years at Sarjan Plaza, Tao moved few blocks to its current location, in 2004. At 16, what better way to celebrate the milestone than by organising a show that celebrates the unique culture of an urban centre like Mumbai.
Titled Scape and Scope, the show opens this Wednesday, featuring a collection of works by some of India’s most popular artists, FN Souza, Gaganendranath Tagore, Arzan Khambatta, Paresh Maity, Jayasri Burman, Suparna Mondal, Ram Kumar among others. Interestingly, Shah is also presenting her works as part of the show. In one of her paintings, titled, Munich, she captures the city during her visit in 2015. The show, says Shah, is a collection of modern cityscapes, some of which are especially done for the show, like Jayasri Burman’s paintings, where she moves away from her current style of detailing to create colourful images of a city surrounded by mountains. And while every artist has taken a city of their liking, Mumbai features predominantly in the exhibition, informs Shah.

“There are two meanings of the show: Firstly, there’s always the landscape of a place that inspires artists; the different cities they visit or wherever they travel. And secondly, the scope they present in creation, through their correction and expansion and becoming more amazing, in an artists imagination. Some times it’s the landscape, at others it’s their home, its roof, the doors and the windows,” says Shah.

On: Feb 10 to 15
At: Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda.
Call: 22843989;

On: February 16 to 25
At: Tao Art Gallery, Worli.
Call: 24918585

Then and now: Tao Art Gallery

2000 Sacred Space (group show)
2001 Ashtanayak (group show featuring Indian modern masters)
2002 Nava Nayika (group show featuring Anjolie Ela Menon and others)
2002 The Eternal Enchantress of Devdas, a solo show by MF Husain
2004 Dashrath Patel, solo show
2006 Rang Raas, solo show of paintings and tapestries by SH Raza
2007 Bored by Pritish Nandi
2008 Satya by SH Raza
2010 Evolve, a group show completing ten years of Tao Art Gallery
2011 Black Brown & The Blue, Shuvaprasanna’s book release and exhibition of recent and retrospective works
2013 Equilibrium, 13th anniversary group show
2013 Blue and Red by Ravi Mandlik
2014 Drawn to Life by Rini Dhumal
2015 Kohei Sugiura: Graphic Design Methodology and Philosophy, exhibition of magazines, posters, calendars on letterforms, videos and motion graphics

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