Culture

This Goan art gallery is celebrating 40 years of Indian art

'Deliberated Time' traces the evolution of Indian art in a collaborative retrospective

There’s a flurry of activity in Panaji. Art aficionados, cultural crusaders and those in the know are descending upon Dattaraj V Salgaocar and Dipti Salgaocar’s Sunaparanta - Goa Centre For The Arts. Two of India’s most respected art galleries, Kolkata’s Galerie 88 and Mumbai’s Project 88—helmed by Supriya Banerjee and Sree Banerjee Goswami, respectively—are showing a retrospective of their most celebrated pieces from the last 40 years, till April 30.

Titled Deliberated Time, and curated by the centre’s honorary director, author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, the exhibition showcases works by established names such as FN Souza and Somnath Hore alongside rising stars like Neha Choksi and Andrew Ananda Voogel.

“The idea [for the exhibition] was suggested by Sree when I asked her to show in Goa: she wished to look at a body of work spanning 40 years, examining her mother’s artists as well as her own. I discovered that while their programmes are almost incomparable, what makes their working style profound is how deeply invested they are in their artists’ lives,” says Shanghvi.

Each gallery occupied a very different space in India’s art evolution: Galerie 88, which opened its doors in 1988, initially championed stalwarts such as MF Husain and SH Raza while also nurturing new talent. By the time Project 88 opened, 18 years later, much had changed in the art world. “When I started Project 88, there was a need to break away from the past—to establish the contemporary,” says Goswami. Project 88 focused all its energy on the younger generation, exhibiting artists such as Raqs Media Collective and Rohini Devasher—both of whom also feature in this exhibition. Deliberated Time, then, is a visual timeline of India’s art story.

“We set the works from both galleries to ricochet against each other,” says Shanghvi. “We wanted to see how forms have evolved or become outdated, how some works have sustained over time—I believe these are works with keen emotional resonance—and we wanted to recognise how time had a central echo on the show. The opening work by Raqs is precisely that: taking the words from Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time, and illuminating them in different word sequences to mean different things. The title of the exhibition refers to our idea of how time rubs against culture and aesthetic, and the works emerge both influenced and defiant from the hours.”

Shanghvi’s association with Sunaparanta goes back a long way: the Salgaocars are family friends, and among Goa’s most respected art patrons. “Siddharth has been actively associated with Sunaparanta for the past five years as honorary director,” says Dattaraj V Salgaocar.

This is the first time that Galerie 88 and Project 88 have exhibited together in a curated show. “After 10 years, there is a need to join the dots, to trace a lineage, to find the linkages between the past and the future. This intelligently curated show does that for me,” says Goswami. This “jugalbandi”, as Shanghvi calls it in his curatorial note, is going to be one for the ages.

Deliberated Time is on till April 30 at Sunaparanta - Goa Centre For The Arts