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Can Sangita Jindal’s Hampi Art Labs Rewrite the Narrative of Art and Heritage in South India?

South India’s ancient city of Hampi has long enthralled Sangita Jindal, a well-known art collector and philanthropist. She has been captivated by the rich history of Hampi since the early 1980s, characterising it as a “dynamic hub where art, architecture, and literature flourished from the 14th to 16th centuries.” Jindal is now achieving her goal of connecting the past and present through contemporary art efforts with the opening of the Hampi Art Labs. Located approximately 30 kilometers from the iconic ruins of Hampi, HAL encompasses exhibition spaces, studios, and artist apartments, providing a conducive environment for artistic exploration and collaboration. Designed to bridge the gap between tradition and innovation, HAL serves as a haven where artists can immerse themselves in diverse techniques and materials.

Sangita Jindal - Wikipedia
Sangita Jindal | Courtesy: Wikipedia

HAL’s facilities boast state-of-the-art amenities, including a ceramic studio and a printmaking studio, providing artists with the tools they need to bring their visions to life. Moreover, the inclusion of artist apartments ensures a seamless integration of living and working spaces, fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and camaraderie among residents.

Heritage Preservation and Creativity Promotion: Hampi Art Labs

Designed by architect Sameep Padora, Hampi Art Labs is not just another art centre—it’s a bridge between past and present, tradition and innovation. Situated amidst the remnants of Hampi’s ancient glory, the centre aims to promote contemporary art creation through residencies and workshops. Jindal’s vision, in collaboration with the JSW Foundation, is to create a space where artists can engage with the rich cultural heritage of South India while exploring new mediums and techniques.

Installation View of “Right Foot First” with works by Annie Morris (left), Rohini Devasher (center) and Manish Nai (right).
Installation View of “Right Foot First” with works by Annie Morris (left), Rohini Devasher (center) and Manish Nai (right). Courtesy: artnet

From Collection to Curation: The Sangita Jindal Collection

Jindal’s passion for art extends beyond the walls of Hampi Art Labs. With approximately 1,000 works in her collection, she has been collecting Modern and contemporary South Asian art since her teenage years. Her collection not only features Indian artists but also includes works by global artists, reflecting her diverse taste and appreciation for artistic expression.

Exhibition Spotlight: “Right Foot First”

“Right Foot First,” the inaugural exhibition at Hampi Art Labs, is proof of Jindal’s dedication to presenting significant periods in Indian art history. The exhibition, which showcases pieces from the Sangita Jindal Collection, allows viewers to see conversations between established artists and up-and-coming talent across generations. The show showcases the changing face of Indian modern art over the last 25 years, from Zarina Hashmi to Andy Warhol. The exhibition is on view until May 31, 2024.

A glimpse of the launch of Hampi Art Labs, where the guests engaged with the inaugural exhibition, ‘Right Foot First,’ curated by Phalguni Guliani. Courtesy: Hampi Art Labs via instagram

Philosophy of Collecting: Personal Choice and Connection

According to Artnet For Jindal, collecting art is not merely about acquisition—it’s a deeply personal journey guided by intuition and connection. Drawing inspiration from her mother and her own experiences, she emphasises the importance of forging relationships with artists and allowing artworks to resonate on a deeper level.

Living and Growing with Art - India Art Fair
Sangita Jindal with her mother Urmila Kanoria|  Courtesy: India Art Fair

Future Aspirations: Expanding Horizons

Looking ahead, Jindal continues to explore new avenues for artistic expression. With recent acquisitions from emerging artists like Sohrab Hura, she remains committed to supporting diverse voices in the art world. Her passion for art and heritage preservation serves as a driving force behind initiatives like Hampi Art Labs and publications like Art India magazine.

A Legacy of Art and Innovation

In order to further enhance the creative environment of Hampi and beyond, the HAL team hopes to organise four residency programmes annually as it develops and broadens its scope. With an unwavering dedication to promoting innovation, teamwork, and community, HAL is positioned to make a lasting impression on the contemporary art scene. Sangita Jindal has shown passion, devotion, and inventiveness throughout her path in the art and cultural worlds. Her vision crosses boundaries and motivates future generations by conserving historic buildings and fostering modern creativity. Her most recent project, Hampi Art Labs, is another example of how she is influencing the cultural landscape of India and beyond while making a lasting impact on both the art and philanthropic worlds.

Feature Image Courtesy: Homegrown

References:

  1. “Sangita Jindal, India’s Foremost Art Collector, on the Magic of Hampi and Her Latest Cultural Initiative.” Artnet News, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/sangita-jindal-art-collector-2432544.
  2. “Watch: What’s Unique about Hampi Art Labs?” The Hindu, https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/watch-whats-unique-about-hampi-art-labs/article67832636.ece.
  3. “JSW Foundation’s Hampi Art Labs to Open on February 5.” The Hindu Business Line, https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/jsw-foundations-hampi-art-labs-to-open-on-february-5/article67799878.ece.

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