Remani Nambiar's love for art led her to open Shrishti Art Gallery in Hyderabad

She is a homemaker turned gallery-owner and art collector, an ikebana practitioner and teacher and a sometime painter. Remani V Nambiar is perhaps the only Malayali woman who runs an art gallery outside the State.

An alumnus of Providence College, (I was Ajitha’s classmate, though it was only for a year, she informs you ), Remani left Kozhikode years ago when she got married, and lived in Delhi for some time. When her husband was transferred to Hyderabad and her children had grown up, she started looking around to do something. And then her true calling came calling via her desire to learn painting. The late bloomer set up Shrishti Art Gallery in her large living room at Hyderabad to show the paintings that she and her friends did first, and then, it was to show her art teacher’s works. This was in 2002, when art spelt glamour. Today, she is busy in the art circuit, organising art shows, selling and buying art, meeting new artists who want patronage.

She started small but today, Shrishti is a name to reckon with in the world of art. Look at her gallery, (it’s in her huge house, downstairs) and you see big names, works of the who’s who in the art scene, hanging all over the walls of the naalukettu type of building in a posh locality in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. She hobnobs with the best in the field and art connoisseurs while being part of the art consciousness of the land.

“I found that I loved doing it. It was at first just for the love of it. And then it became bigger and I invested what money I was getting from the gallery into it,” says Remani who was here in Kochi where Shrishti showed veteran artist Achuthan Kudallur’s works at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery. Painting is not the only one among the fine arts that Remani is interested in. Ikebana has always been her passion and that led her to painting. “I am a qualified teacher in ikebana of the sogetsu school,” she says. She even went to Japan to learn more and ‘is still learning’. Remani also teaches ikebana. “You can use anything and do an arrangement in ikebana. Once I used coconut palm leaves and even tapioca bunches for an arrangement at Thiruvananthapuram. We also use twigs and branches.” She started it all by learning to paint, but today, she never paints. “It’s not my cup of tea,” she says plainly, preferring to be the facilitator for art rather than the creator.

Yes, art is picking up after the bad recession, according to her. During the years prior to the recession, the unrealistic prices that art commanded did a lot damage to the art scene. Some of the young artists were affected by it, as they got frustrated later, but their attitude has changed now. The serious artists always did let glamour rule their heads, so they have not been affected. Many invested in art just to make money, not out of love for art. That was when everything went wrong. “Quality also tended to go down when artists were churning out works at a hectic pace to be sold merely as products. But now, things are much better, only those who are really interested buy art,” says Remani who has also organised a show in the US a few years ago. Her collection boasts of several top grade artists and promising youngsters.

Has she ever gone wrong while collecting works or selecting artists for shows? “Never,” says the confident woman, for she makes sure that the artist is qualified, dedicated and systematic before associating with him/her. She has collections from many artists from Hyderabad and all over the country. There were very few women artists who were serious about their work, naturally, owing to responsibilities in the family. But now, I find there are many women who view their profession seriously and are dedicated,” Remani feels. With both her son and daughter married and settled in Bangalore and abroad, Remani finds a good critic in her husband who is ‘always honest’ with her, whether it’s an ikebana arrangement or a show. Shrishti, her own ‘shrishti’ has already made a mark in the art world, while Remani never tires of aiming higher.