Responding to the evolving contemporary art world where artists are experimenting with bold subjects and mediums, the Lalit Kala Akademi in the national capital has opened a new gallery intended to provide more space for exhibitions.

Situated in the basement, the new exhibition space is an addition to the existing nine galleries, at the one of the country’s oldest art spaces that is available for hire by local and international artists both established and upcoming in the art world.

“The basement was previously used as a storage area for our collection and we have renovated it to create a more efficient space that adds to the existing exhibition galleries,” Ashok Vajpayee, Chairman Lalit Kala Akademi told PTI.

“Yeh Image Mahaan - India meets Bharat”, an exhibition curated by Rakhi Sarkar and documenting the new vibrant languages of art emanating from India, put together by Kolkata-based private art gallery CIMA, became the first show at the new Akademi gallery that was inaugurated here on Monday evening. The exhibition is scheduled to go on till January 29.

“Right now the Akademi is one of the best spaces present in the capital, we are centrally located and we also have our own collaborations with institutions abroad. We send abroad our artists works and similarly exhibit international artists as part of our cultural policy,” says Mr. Vajpayee.

Presently a “bold” show comprising of works by 20 well known artists and commissioned by the Akademi is also being exhibited at the venue.

“Against all odds: A contemporary response to the historiography of archiving collecting and museums of India” displays how each artist would like their museums to be as well as critique or articulate the history of collecting all the while reflecting on issues from a personal or social viewpoint.

“People have commended us on this bold exhibition that has been curated by a young curator. We have to open up to the happenings of the contemporary art world and the Lalit Kala Akademi is trying to respond to this,” says Mr. Vajpayee.

The Chairman says the Akademi which has hosted retrospective shows on leading contemporary artists like Ram Kumar and Satish Gujral and is slated to put up soon a big show on Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, is striving to encourage artists from all over the country especially younger ones.

Apart from individual artists and galleries the Lalit Kala Akademi also plans to host a triennial by the end of 2011 where work from private galleries would be exhibited.

State-run Lalit Kala Akademis would also be chipping in with their artists.

Jawahar Sircar, Secretary, Ministry of Culture who inaugurated the tenth gallery of the Lalit Kala Akademi says, “The new gallery is an example of the neutral spaces that are being made available to artists especially younger ones who want to exhibit their art and not just commercial spaces for buying and selling art. The Lalit Kala and the National Gallery of Modern Art are suitable examples.”

Meanwhile, the Akademi is also supporting the upcoming India Art Summit in the city.

“The IAS is essentially a commercial venture, it is a fair. While we are supporting them we are not playing a direct role. We are hoping to meet and interact with the number of artists who will be visiting the city both at an institutional level as well as on a personal level,” says Mr. Vajpayee who is also a well-known poet and author.