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Young at art

India’s youngest art curator, 23-year-old Poonam Salecha is organising an exhibition featuring works by 123 female artists for Women’s Day.

art and culture Updated: Mar 04, 2011 15:48 IST
Shweta Mehta

Poonam Salecha is India’s youngest practicing art curator. She has also set up a foundation for the welfare of women artists of the country. What’s also impressive about the 23-year-old is that to celebrate Women's Day, she’s managed to put together an exhibit featuring the works of 123 female artists from all over the world.

Extensive project
“I sent out 40,000 emails to Indian and international artists, requesting them to participate, and the response was great. I wrote all their names on chits of paper and drew out 123, whose works were selected,” says Salecha, explaining that she didn't want to choose between any of them. As a result, the Lotus Art Show is an interesting, eclectic mix of techniques and forms of art. Paintings, installations, videos, ceramics and textiles are all among the various works on display. Participating artists include a majority of Indian women, but there are works by British, American and even Nepalese artists in the offing.

Art of the matter
Salecha’s Women’s Art Foundation (WAF) is currently only three months old, and is yet to get past teething troubles. “It was very difficult to find investors to back us, because this is the first organisation of its kind. 70 per cent of it is my own money,” she claims, adding that small sums from a few investors as well as a little luck in finding a gallery gave her a much-needed boost.

“I really wanted to do this because since many years now, I’ve noticed that sometimes, even artists who have money have not been able to exhibit their works successfully,” she says. “Galleries are all booked four to five years in advance. In my first year of college, my teacher advised me to do the same, so I got an opportunity. Other women haven’t been that fortunate.” Salecha intends to take her organisation forward by conducting several workshops in the near future. These include courses in drawing, painting, calligraphy and even appreciation of the aesthetic value of art.

The Lotus Art Show is on display at Coomaraswamy Hall till March 8