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Verve People
June 17, 2014

Power Gallerist: Shireen Gandhy

Text by Nasrin Modak. Photograph by Farzan Randelia. Make-up by Pallavi Jain, Lakme Absolute Salon. Hair by Vimis Awungshi, Lakme Absolute Salon.

At the helm of Chemould Prescott Road, Shireen Gandhy has kept her finger on India’s artistic pulse. She says, growing up watching the lives of artists made hers a privileged one….

Under that boisterous batch of curls lies a head that has ably taken over the mantle of Chemould Prescott Road, one of the oldest galleries in Mumbai. At its helm, Shireen Gandhy, has kept her finger on India’s artistic pulse, nurturing and coaxing the arts while also seeking to probe and provoke. She wants to show edgy art, not just art that sells. She puts on seven to eight shows a year and takes the gallery to art fairs around the world.

Starting off: ‘All the guests who visited us and stayed at our Bandstand bungalow, managed to leave an impression on my future. Whether it was watching artists work in their makeshift studio in our home, or spending time with them at our family home in Matheran, growing up watching the lives of artists, made mine a privileged one.’

First buy: ‘A watercolour by Bhupen (Khakhar). He had come to the gallery with his work and I remember pulling out my cheque book and writing him a cheque of Rs 2,000. It is now with my sister at her Alibaug home.’

Turning Point: “When the gallery turned 25. It was a time when my parents formally introduced me to the art community. The late 1980s and early ’90s were a period of learning. I started getting defined by a new contemporary sensibility. I was shedding a certain baggage of my parents.”

Going ahead: “I would like to provide the same kind of role model to my kids, as my parents have to me. They gave me the space I needed to grow.”

Time off: ‘When mom used to drag me to museums on our holidays abroad, I was on a permanent cultural overdose. Today, I hear my kids say the same thing. And yet, Atyaan is sensitive enough to recognise a Pushpamala printed in an inflight magazine.’

On reaching highs: ‘If I had not taken a fresh turn then we would have been regarded as a gallery that only shows relics!’

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