Mumbai’s iconic Jehangir Art Gallery completes six decades this month, and what better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than by paying tribute to an eventful journey that saw luminaries of Indian art rise to global fame. Veterans remember the gallery with immense fondness.
Artist Lalita Lajmi recalls, “My memories of Jehangir begin when I participated in a group show in 1960. Later my first solo at the gallery in 1961 was a huge success. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Anjolie Ela Menon agrees. “From the time I was a student in JJ School of Art in 1956 to now, Jehangir Art Gallery has been at the core of my career. I have had several important exhibitions there, including my retrospective in 1988.”
Sapna Kar, Festival Director, Jehangir Art Gallery Diamond Jubilee Celebration, points out, “No other gallery in India can boast of the iconic stature that Jehangir Art Gallery has achieved in these years. The yeoman service to art rendered by Late Cowasji Jehangir and his family via this gallery definitely deserves an elaborate tribute.”
The endeavour is also an effort to raise funds to allow the gallery to function efficiently. As a matter of principle, the gallery has refrained from charging sky-high rents or charging a commission from exhibiting artists. However, modernisation and upgradation are an urgent need; so funds from some of the activities in the celebrations will be put to good use.
The 11-day celebration — put together by the gallery’s managing committee along with eminent art patrons Sangita Jindal and Harsh Goenka — has a bouquet of interesting events. Kar elaborates, “An exhibition — ‘60 Years of Being Jehangir’ — seeks to trace the journey of the gallery via old newspaper clippings, archival photographs and artists’ interviews. Already, a new photo gallery has been opened on the terrace to promote photography as an art form. Additionally, the auditorium gallery has now been refurbished. There will be an auction of 50 works by artists who have a deep bond with the gallery like Raza, Padamsee, Hebbar and others. The ‘culture adda’ will host talks/discussions between artists like Anju Dodiya, Gieve Patel and also conduct heritage art walks. Memorabilia featuring renowned artists’ works will be on sale for nominal prices so that art lovers can walk home with a piece of their favourite artist.”
The icing on the cake will be a musical and fashion extravaganza: a Zakir Hussain concert and a Sabyasachi Mukherjee fashion show. Hussain will be performing in the city after several years and so the concert is much anticipted. Sabyasachi pays tribute to art via his creations against the background of Shubha Mudgal’s live performance.
Bottomline: At 60, it’s time to celebrate at Mumbai’s iconic art gallery.
Jehangir Art Gallery Diamond Jubilee Celebrations
Where: Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai
When: Until October 28