This is one purpose you never thought Delhi's high-end malls would serve: turning NCR's Swarovsky-crystal-hounds into art lovers.
An increasing number of art galleries in the city are leasing spaces in malls in order to attract what they call 'a whole new kind of clientele', who are not necessarily the connoisseurs of art.
“We wanted to reach out to people who have the money to buy luxuries, but have not been exposed to art,”says Ashish Anand, director, Delhi Art Gallery (DAG). Opened in October last at Vasant Kunj's DLF Emporio, it is by far the most luxurious art gallery in a mall.
In fact DLF Emporio — famed as the country's most expensive shopping mall and seat of coveted international brands — houses three top-notch art galleries, all opened in the past few months.
“From our gallery at Emporio we have sold high-end art to people from tier- two cities who have never bought art and or even visited an art gallery before,” says Anand.
The walls of the DAG in Emporio display the original works of contemporary masters F.N. Souza, SH Raza and MF Hussain. “The idea was to create a luxurious art space where people come, spend time and get to see the works of the greatest artists," says Anand.
Mall-rats to art lovers?
Another top- notch art gallery of the city, Vadehra Art Gallery, also opened an outlet in Emporio in July. “Many people find it intimidating to enter a conventional, standalone art gallery,” says Parul Vadhera, director, Vadehra Art Gallery. The 840-square-feet gallery, which has a high-fashion jewellery brand as its neighbor, also organies discussions , talks and art workshops. “It's more like a retail space. We do not organize curated art shows here, but only display selected works,” says Vadehra.
Tripat Kalra, director, Gallery Navya in Square One mall in Saket, which opened in November last year, believes that a high-end mall provides security and ambience for an art gallery. “You get a secure, dust- free, pristine environment, which is so important for displaying art work.”
Manu Dosaj, who runs Gallery Alternatives in DT Mega Mall in Gurgaon, believes that a gallery in a mall attracts much more footfalls, which also convert into sales.
“I think an art gallery's job is not just to sell art, but also to show it to as many as possible,” says Dosaj.
“We get people who have never visited a gallery before, and they ask us all kinds of questions about the works on display, about the artist, the medium, etc, which ultimately helps promote art in a big way,” says Dosaj.
Beyond the Gallery
Most art galleries in malls also display sculpture and art woks in the foyers of the malls they are located in, which, they believe, help put art in the public domain. Some malls have even started actively promoting art. Select Citywalk in Saket, for example, has recently undertaken the initiative 'Select Cityart', to bring art into the public domain. The mall will display artworks of renowned artists at Sanskriti, the open plaza at the mall.
DLF Promenade in Vasant Kunj also boasts of an avant garde art space — Mocha Art House, which blends food, coffee and art. The entire place is like an installation project with paintings, photographs and sculptures coming together to lend a unique identity to the place.
“We are primarily an art gallery trying to create an art movement. We wish to promote young artists and new mediums of art such as posters, digital prints, photographs, graffiti, etc,” says Deepali Gupta, brand manager, Mocha Art House. The café-cum-art house, puts on a fresh display every month.