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Hampi Art Labs: JSW to launch art centre at Hampi

JSW Foundation, a philanthropic arm of the JSW Group, is set to unveil Hampi Art Labs, a cutting-edge contemporary art center in southern India, in February 2024. Nestled near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi, the 18-acre facility will feature exhibition spaces, studios, and a dynamic artist residency program. With an undisclosed budget, the center is strategically located in Vijayanagara.

The inaugural exhibition, “Right Foot First,” will showcase works from the Jindal Collection spanning 1998 to 2023, featuring renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Annie Morris, Ai Weiwei, and more. This exhibition aims to highlight interdisciplinary connections across different time periods and art movements, emphasizing the JSW group’s longstanding support for the arts and pivotal moments in Indian contemporary art.

Hampi Art Labs is designed to allow visitors to traverse the space in harmony with the undulating architecture, reminiscent of the natural flow of the Tungabhadra river surrounding the ancient city of Hampi. The center’s architect, Sameep Padora, brings a poetic touch that aligns with the spiritual energy associated with Hampi.

The facility’s future exhibitions will comprise new commissions and loans, curated by guest curators responding to the center and its surroundings or in collaboration with residency alumni. The artist residency program’s inaugural cycle will host Bhasha Chakrabarti, Sharbendu De, Madhavi Gore, Promiti Hossain, and Anirudh Singh Shaktawat.

Sangita Jindal, spearheading the initiative, expresses her excitement about connecting contemporary art with heritage and nature, drawing inspiration from her fondness for the ancient city of Hampi. The project reflects a legacy of arts support, echoing the sentiments of her mother, Urmila Kanoria, who founded one of India’s first residency programs in 1984.

Tarini Jindal Handa emphasizes Hampi Art Labs as an inclusive, artist-centric center promoting cross-disciplinary art-making and engagement with the region’s heritage. The Jindal family has a rich history of cultural initiatives in the area, including the 2012 opening of Kaladham, a campus housing a museum dedicated to Hampi’s heritage.

The Jindals are renowned in India for their contributions to visual arts initiatives, with Sangita Jindal being the publisher of Art India magazine. The Jindal Collection, focusing on Modern and contemporary South Asian art, comprises over 1,000 works, with the new center’s inaugural show spotlighting artists like Bharti Kher, Andy Warhol, Lubna Chowdhary, and Ai Weiwei.

Hampi Art Labs represents a significant addition to India’s arts infrastructure, offering world-class facilities for contemporary art production. Its strategic location and collaboration with local craft culture and traditions provide artists with a unique opportunity to create on a large scale. The center also aims to foster cultural links across the Global South through its residency programs and collaborations with like-minded institutions.

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