I love Gurgaon: Where art and artists find a happy home
I LOVE GURGAON’S ARTSPACE: There is a growing population in the city that not only takes an avid interest in art but also has the resources and skill to dabble in it.I Love Gurgaon Updated: Jun 08, 2017 14:40 IST
In 2000, when I decided to permanently settle down in Delhi-NCR, the choice was between Noida, Gurgaon and Delhi. However, with fond memories of my visits to MG Road and Golf Course Road still fresh in my mind, I did not have to think long and hard before choosing Gurgaon as my home.
There was palpable buzz and energy about the city that one could not escape even at that time and one could sense that a churn was in the works and Gurgaon was poised for a quantum leap, a transformation that would put it on a par with the best and oft-cited urban landscapes in the world.
As a curator, gallery owner and writer, a city like Gurgaon was an obvious choice for me to set up my home as it fills one with the joy of living in an upscale city and not the fear of being crowded out by a concrete jungle. The greenery and acres of open spaces make Gurgaon an eminently liveable city and its educated youth gives it hope of an assured leap into the future. However, if there’s one vibe of the city that I feed off, it is that there is growing population that not only takes an avid interest in art but also has the resources and skill to dabble in it.
However, art, in Gurgaon, is not the domain of the rich alone. I have personally experienced a top-down movement whereby the interest in art spreads gradually from the elite to the urban middle class. Earlier, most buyers had an affinity for traditional art and supported artists who were rooted to the Indian ethos. But the evolution of art in the city has not followed a pattern where local artists, more rooted to the soil, would create a space for their signature brand of art to flourish and build a movement around it.
I believe that as a flood of development hit Gurgaon and people from far and near came to settle in the city, both local artists and those from across the city worked in sync to nourish and expand the city’s art space.
I have seen many mid-level corporate executives, with exposure to international art and culture, buying from and patronising painters rooted to the soil. However, more than corporates and art lovers from overseas, it is Gurgaon’s upper middle class that has kept art and artistes alive in the city.
Over the last decade or more, the city has welcomed artists from across the country and has seen the emergence of a hub that rivals the more celebrated art villages of Delhi such as Lado Sarai, Shahpur Jat and a few other places in the NCR. Art lovers in the city invest in paintings, sculptures and other art forms that not only serve as a source of encouragement for their creators but also satisfy their interest.
The free-spirited and cosmopolitan Gurgaon art buyer is as comfortable sampling and shopping for art in the city as he is in any other part of the globe. They have seen art in Vietnam, Thailand and across Europe and want to bring home the best.
However, the only area of concern for me is that apart from private initiatives and corporate effort, there is little in the government support in creating an ecosystem where artists could thrive and flourish.
(Shobha Sengupta is an art curator and runs a gallery in Gurgaon)