No. 1 Shanthi Road has seen several artists come and go … and come again

His dream was to use a prime space in Bangalore to inculcate creative freedom and to respond to the city. The space became No. 1 Shanthi Road, a cosy and an unusual nook, where artists live, work and interact.

When Suresh Jayaram, visual artist and art historian inherited his mother's terrace, he thought of creating an area that negotiated between public and private. And this is something that No. 1 Shanthi Road does particularly well.

The building houses a display area for art, an office space, an “informal adda”, rooms for artist residences, and also serves as Suresh's home.

The erosion of personal space is not a problem for him, he says, but simply a way of life.

And it is, undeniably, a way of life that has nurtured several artists who have passed under its roof. Suresh says that those artists who come to stay sometimes return for a second or third time. And the person-to-person contact that he so believes in has “obviously” enriched his life in turn, as a human being and as an artist.

Suresh is passionate about providing an alternative art space in the city: “We have a vision that other institutions don't,” he says. Serving as “a catalyst, an incubation space, a facilitator of creativity” and supporting cutting-edge work in art, No.1, Shanthi Road is not a gallery, he emphasises.

Having served as principal of the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Suresh says this space questions the very notion of being an institution. Not having to worry about the demands of trustees or the government, his organisation manages to tread a firm path, sometimes collaborating with other alternative spaces for art.

No. 1, Shanthi Road was set up in 2003 and Suresh counts it as one of his biggest achievements. Ask him how long he plans to keep the space running, and he says without hesitation: “As long as people need it.”

Keywords: Art gallery

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Up CloseApril 13, 2011