It was an auction with a difference. No Husain or Raza, but art created in collaboration with the likes of PM Modi and actor Shah Rukh Khan under the hammer, all for charity
Works of art created by artists in collaboration with eminent personalities like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, boxer Mary Kom, actor Shah Rukh Khan and dance maestro Birju Maharaj witnessed an auction on a chilly winter evening at the residence of the British High Commissioner in New Delhi on Friday.
The fourth edition of the auction, ‘India on Canvas’, by Khushii, an NGO founded by cricket legend Kapil Dev, contained around 100 artworks and was conducted by global auctioneers Sotheby’s. The event was attended by over 1,200 eminent guests including Smriti Irani, Gautam Singhania, Atul and Aarti Kirloskar, Naresh Trehan, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Suhel Seth and Bindu Kapoor.
Om Namo Shivay, which fetched R1.3 crore at the auction, is a mix of sculpture and painting on a single canvas. The work, said Delhi-based artist Satish Gupta, is inspired by the Chola bronzes, particularly the Shiva idols at the Brihadeshwara temple in Thanjavur.
“Om Namo Shivay is the chant for Lord Shiva. The PM appreciated my work and has even painted a few strokes on the canvas,” he added.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has also lent brush strokes to Gupta’s painting on Lord Vishnu, said the artist. Olympic medalist Mary Kom collaborated with artist Seema Kohli to create a mixed-media piece.
About 45 paintings were collaborations with celebrities like eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, fashion designers Gauri and Nainika Karan, industrialists Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Arti Kirloskar, among others. Author Chetan Bhagat, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Bollywood personalities Vishal and Rekha Bhardwaj and Farah Khan and cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Shoaib Akhtar are among those who have also endorsed some of the works.
“Proceeds of the auction will contribute to the future of the over 5,000 children that Khushii looks after,” said Vivek Khushalani, president of the NGO. Participating artists include Akbar Padamsee, GR Iranna, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Anjolie Ela Menon, Paresh Maity, Jayasri Burman, Mithu Sen, Bose Krishnamachari and Manu Parekh, he added.
The auction fetched far more than what was anticipated, as 75% of the works showcased were sold. The artwork created by Shah Rukh Khan with Chintan Upadhyayand and children supported by Khushii went for R36 lakh. Similary, the limited-edition Jehangir Sabavala carpet, which was estimated to go for R6 lakh, fetched R28 lakh.
Established 12 years ago, the NGO Khushii has been taking several steps to impact communities via interventions in education, health and hygiene and gender equality. Its flagship initiative Shikshantra aims at remedial education for the less privileged to make them independent contributing members of society.