Art spaces are finding a new address in five-star hotels. The national capital saw the launch of two new dedicated art galleries recently. While Pullman New Delhi Aerocity has started Art Zone, a permanent space devoted to art and where eminent artists will display their artworks, The Claridges announced the opening of Saffronart’s new gallery at its flagship property in New Delhi.
Pullman’s new initiative is intended to add elements of local interest, culture intrigue and visual ingenuity to the hotel’s communal space, says Tristan Beau De Lomenie, the hotel’s general manager. “Pullman hotels and resorts have an incredible affiliation to design, art, photography and local culture, and collaborate with artists and designers around the world to help bring its design vision to life,” he adds.
Pullman’s Art Zone recently opened its doors to art enthusiasts with an exhibition of photographs by eminent personalities, including Raghu Rai, Amit Mehra, Dinesh Khanna, Nemai Ghosh, Paresh Maity, Nitin Rai, Saba Hasan, Gopi Gajwani, Akhil Syngal, Nabarun Mookerjee, Nandini Keswani and Nitin Choudhary, among others. “Curatorially, it’s a challenge to see what the city of Delhi means to different people. From early times to the present day, the city has tolerated individual patterns of life, eccentricities, passions, obsessions and expressions of love. We have asked photographers to share their personal vision/idea of the capital city and what it means to them—to claim ownership of a city that belongs to all and none,” says Ina Puri, art curator and documentarian, who has lent her association to the hotel for Art Zone. For the gallery, Pullman has utilised the lower ground floor around the courtyard.
Pullman hotels are known globally for housing art galleries and working with renowned global artists.
Similarly, The Claridges has dedicated a 3,000-sq-ft space for auction house
Saffronart to hold auctions and exhibitions, previews, talks, panel discussions, book launches and master classes for collectors, among other events.
The new space was recently inaugurated with an exhibition showcasing 31 black-and-white works by Krishen Khanna. One of India’s leading modernists, Khanna’s works draw from the literature of the Mahabharata and the Bible, as well as his own memories of Partition.
Hugo Weihe, CEO, Saffronart, says, “We are proud to inaugurate our versatile, state-of-the-art gallery space with an exhibition of works by Krishen Khanna. Our gallery’s location in the heart of the capital makes it easily accessible, allowing us to hold exhibitions, previews, talks and other art initiatives. Additionally, the gallery space will be used to collaborate with artists and partner galleries in Delhi, extending Saffronart’s continued efforts to support the arts.”
Talking about the initiative, Atul Lall, VP, hospitality and GM, The Claridges, said, “We hope our endeavours in providing a cultural space in the heart of the capital enhance the experience of a thriving and engaged art community.” The gallery opening will be followed by a series of talks on art. Following this, a book launch and an exhibition of works on paper by Ram Kumar will be held from December 14 to 31.
But this is not the first time a five-star hotel has come out with a dedicated space for artworks. In fact, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, has had the Taj Art Gallery since 1964, and has played host to art connoisseurs for decades. However, it was shut down in the mid-90s to make room for the present-day lounge.
After over 20 years, the gallery reopened in January this year in a 1,000-sq-ft space in the heritage palace wing of the hotel with an exhibition of 15 works from the hotel’s own art collection, including works by Jehangir Sabavala, MF Hussain, VS Gaitonde, Ram Kumar and Laxman Shreshtha. Commenting on the gallery, Taljinder Singh, area director, Mumbai, and general manager, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, said, “The Taj, in its spirit of reinventing tradition, is proud to reopen the Taj Art Gallery
in a brand new avatar. Its location in the heritage palace wing will provide artists
and gallerists an unparalleled opportunity to showcase their works to the Taj’s international guests, as well as our discerning non-resident visitors.”