The Champions Programme begins

Upasana Baliyarsingh

19 October 2018

Upasana at Art Night Thursday

In October, the good folks at India Culture Lab organized a first time ever gallery-hopping experience for us, the Culture Lab Champions. The Champions programme is an avenue to meaningfully engage with Culture Lab enthusiasts from across the companies in Godrej, thus creating a network of Culture Lab ambassadors among Godrej employees. I am one of the privileged few to be part of this group.

So, you can understand the excitement I feel to be part of this amazing group of individuals who get a special sneak-peek into these diverse, interesting events curated by the Lab. We visited three galleries as part of our exclusive Art Night Thursday visit.

Jhaveri Contemporary was our first stop on the art-walk. Established in 2010 by sisters Amrita and Priya Jhaveri, the gallery has been an important platform for South Asian artists. Priya was kind enough to host us and show us the gallery which is currently showing a solo exhibition titled Mohan Samant: Masked Dance for the Ancestors which includes paintings and works on paper spanning three decades, from the 1970s through the 1990s. What amused me most about Mohan’s work was that each of his works were so complex and displayed a sense of catharsis but was all put together harmoniously. Jillian, the artist’s wife shared with us how he was extremely disciplined and had to stick to a daily routine of playing the sarangi for two hours followed by three hours of painting, ending his day at his favourite coffee shop where Jillian would join him after work. (1)

Mohan Samant show

The exhibit at Jhaveri Contemporary - Mohan Samant: Masked Dance for the Ancestors

Gillian Samant

 Jillian Samant takes the group through the artist's creative process

Our next stop was Chatterjee and Lal where the gallery owner and curator Mortimer Chatterjee guided us through their first exhibition charting design thinking in India during the 20th Century. Impact: Design Thinking and the Visual Arts in Young India traces design thinking in India through diverse disciplines such as book design, animation, advertising, industrial design, photography, textiles and painting. The exhibition proposes a cultural environment – dating between the 1950s and the 1980s – which was characterized by increasing fluidity between the disciplines of design and the visual arts.

Chatterjee and Lal exhibit

The show at Chatterjee and Lal - Impact: Design Thinking and the Visual Arts in Young India

Mort spoke to us in great detail of how the entire exhibition was curated, his commitment & passion to art was clearly visible even to novices like ourselves. The exhibits from the Godrej archives, lent to the gallery by Jamshyd & Pheroza Godrej, captured by legendary photographer Mitter Bedi fascinated me the most. Over the course of his career, Bedi has photographed more than 2000 installations spanning a range of industries, from steel, fertilizers and textiles to paper. I also loved Riten Mazumdar’s ‘Dyes on stretched silk’ which were impeccably designed clusters of colour washes and calligraphic motifs capturing Rabindranath Tagore’s poem – Dinanta Betal. We spent some time ‘flipping’ through K.G. Subramanyan’s flip book titled Some Chairs, published by Seagull Books in 2003. (2)

Mortimer Chatterjee

Mortimer Chatterjee gives the group a guided tour of the exhibition. 1

championsMortimer Chatterjee gives the group a guided tour of the exhibition. 2

We ended the magical evening at TARQ, showing an exhibition of nature photographs titled Datura which brought out a unique perspective on nature and its intricacies. TARQ was a contrast to the first two galleries in the atmosphere of the place, the art and our interaction with the exhibits. With a little touch of wine which was being freely served at this gallery, we quickly became one with the art.

Each of the galleries and the exhibitions were different from each other and had a wonderful and complex story to tell. The evening spent in the company of my friends across the Godrej Group and my first encounter with art, like never before, has left an imprint on me for life. I thank the India Culture Lab, for yet again giving us an experience which we would otherwise never have thought of having and exposing us to something that slowly but surely changes each one of us for the better.

(1)You can read more details here:
(2)Here's a link for more information: