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It's art at Delhi's heart



The Sculpture Garden at the newly built Ravi Jain Centre for International Arts - DMG Mega Art Complex in New Delhi.

THERE WERE two things that happened best in Delhi this season: bountiful rain and abundant art activity. Once again the Capital gets into news for a good reason - opening of Ravi Jain Centre for International Arts - DMG Mega Art Complex at G-Block Connaught Place: another arm of India's oldest Dhoomimal Art Gallery. Spread across 5000 square feet, the Centre is categorically divided into well-defined section, courtesy a young Uday Jain, the founder and grandson of Ram Babu, the creator of Dhoomimal Art Gallery.

Basically, an extension of Sculptor Garden that Ravi Jain, son of Ram Babu started in 1989, this new complex dedicates 2000 square feet to the main gallery located on the ground floor. This part is meant for showcasing exhibitions of contemporary modern artists on a regular basis.

The first and the second floor houses art museum that again devotes separate rooms to old masters like Souza, Gade, Jemini Roy, Husain, Raza and Ara at one place and a cultural exchange section for visual and performing arts on the other. Interestingly, the museum is not just for well-known masters but also those whose calibre remained clouded for various reasons. "We will have works of people like Santhana Raj, extremely talented contemporary of Husain and G.S Aduurkar of J.J. School of Arts under whose guidance countless artists learned arts and got famous," informs Uday Jain.

Then there is a Reference Section or a library for both Indian and foreign artists on second floor, to enter which, there is no membership fee. At present this section has around 2000 reference books, leaflets and other reading material. That's not all. "Plans to organise regular meets, slide shows and lectures are on the cards. Open to all, the lecture part starts early next month."

The Sculpture Garden now will also have works of marble, bronze and other material apart from an innovative competitive section for sculptors and painters for the age group of 20 to 30. For this age group a Ravi Jain Memorial Foundation scholarship of Rs.1000 per month continues to be there. The criterion for receiving this scholarship is submission of bio data of the applicant and some of his presentations. "A committee of Jury comprising two veteran artists, an art critic and a Diplomat examine the resume and the works of the applicant and choose four of them per year for scholarship," enlightens Uday.

Surprisingly, there is no section for digital painting as yet. But the oft-neglected forms of arts as graphics and drawings will find a venue on the second floor itself. "We might include digital painting in this section only," says Uday.

Those interested in studying artworks by foreign artists need not get depressed. The Centre has on cards a number of foreign artists from different parts of the world whose works will be displayed along with their Indian counterparts on regular intervals. October will witness a joint show of German artist Michael and Chennai-based artist Achutan Kudallur.

On the opening day this coming Tuesday, the visitor would be able to see a group show of 110 artists, both young and old masters. The exhibition remains on view for a month.

What about the prices of the art works? "That depends. But we are trying to keep them affordable beginning from Rs.5000 and ending up to lakhs. If we cannot have Anjolie Ela Menon in each house we can at least have a watercolour. Buying an art works in the best investment in any case, the prices of which never sours," Uday justifies.

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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