Making art accessible to everyone

One of the key pillars of RMZ Foundation's mission is to empower society by democratising art and providing support to communities

Alwin Benjamin Soji Published :  16th November 2023 08:37 PM   |   Published :   |  16th November 2023 08:37 PM
In frame: Anu Menda

In frame: Anu Menda

RMZ Foundation, founded by Anu Menda, breathes life into public spaces through various dynamic exhibitions, workshops, tours and lectures. They make art and culture accessible to thousands on a daily basis. Recently, they acquired Suhasini Kejriwal's Garden of Un-Earthly Delights and showcased it at the London Frieze Art Exhibition. We get chatty with Anu to learn more about the foundation's art-related work and how they plan to make art accessible to everyone.  

Also read: Exhibition: Exploring city’s changing skylines

How did the idea of having art programs start for the RMZ Foundation?
One of the key pillars of RMZ Foundation's mission is to empower society by democratising art and providing support to communities. We believe that art is a powerful medium of communication and a tool for empowerment. By actively fostering the arts, the foundation seeks to create a positive impact on the cultural landscape and the well-being of people in the communities we serve.

Through our art initiatives, the RMZ Foundation creates a platform for artists to exhibit their work and engage with audiences, fostering a unique and enriching experience for everyone. This commitment extends to promoting gender diversity in the art world, as evident in our support for female artists. RMZ Foundation's initiatives align with our belief that art has the power to connect people to their roots and shared humanity.

RMZ Foundation's mission is a holistic approach to societal betterment, with a strong emphasis on promoting art as a means of cultural preservation, community building and empowerment. Foundation’s dedication to supporting emerging artists and democratising art is a testament to our commitment to enriching the cultural fabric of India and beyond.

One of the notable ideas that the foundation works on is making art accessible to the public. How do you work towards that?
We foster art accessibility through a multi-faceted approach. We curate and commission public art installations, making art freely available in parks and buildings for all. The foundation has organised inclusive art workshops and events, facilitating creative connections for people of all ages and abilities. Collaborating with museums and galleries, we support educational programs that engage visitors with art. Additionally, the RMZ Foundation advocates for public art's vital role in creating vibrant, inclusive communities, raising awareness and encouraging support from policymakers and community leaders. In 2023, the RMZ Foundation in Chennai achieved significant milestones, including the commissioning of a mural by artist Avinash Kumar on the walls of RMZ One Paramount, vividly portraying the city's cultural heritage. Internationally, RMZ Foundation, recently supported Suhasini Kejriwal’s Garden of Un-Earthly Delights at Frieze London in its mission to empower women artists. In India, where art often carries an elitist stigma, the RMZ Foundation's efforts are pivotal in breaking down these barriers, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, can experience the transformative impact of art.

Recently RMZ Foundation celebrated Suhasini Kejriwal's Garden of Un-Earthly Delight. Can you tell us more about it?
We recently celebrated Suhasini Kejriwal's Garden of Un-Earthly Delights as a significant addition to our collection. Suhasini Kejriwal is an acclaimed Indian artist whose artwork was selected to showcase her inspiring series at Frieze Sculpture in 2023. The series comprises intricately painted bronze sculptures and was presented at Frieze Sculpture Park in Regent's Park, London, from September 20th to October 29th, 2023.

Suhasini Kejriwal's work is known for its rigorous exploration of various artistic mediums, including painting and sculpture, figuration and abstraction. She delves into the complexities of urban, jungle and desert environments and the unusual juxtapositions and hybridities that define everyday visual culture in contemporary India. In this particular series, Garden of Un-Earthly Delights, Kejriwal has returned to the study of natural forms and the creatures that inhabit them, creating intricately crafted bronze sculptures that are both fascinating and thought-provoking. 

How was your experience at the London Frieze Art Exhibition?
We had a successful and pioneering presence at the London Frieze Art Exhibition. Our support for Indian artist Suhasini Kejriwal was featured in the Frieze Sculpture 2023 program, wherein we showcased Kejriwal's remarkable series, Garden of Un-Earthly Delights, a collection of intricately painted bronze sculptures. 

We underscored the foundation’s commitment to promoting Indian contemporary art on a global scale and its dedication to making art more accessible to the public, with the Frieze Sculpture Park serving as a significant platform for these endeavours. Overall, RMZ Foundation's involvement at the Frieze in 2023 was characterised by significant support for an emerging Indian artist, a landmark inclusion in the Frieze Sculpture Park display and a steadfast commitment to fostering Indian contemporary art on the world stage.

Masks by Narayan Sinha

How did your interest in art begin?
Art, in the eyes of the RMZ Foundation, transcends aesthetics; it becomes a potent tool for effecting social change. The foundation firmly holds that art can serve as a catalyst for addressing crucial societal issues, and it actively supports artists who utilise their creative expressions to confront and tackle these challenges. RMZF also collaborated with the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru in 2022 for a key panel discussion on the power of the Museum and the Impact of Public Art. RMZ Foundation's unwavering commitment is leaving a lasting impact on the Indian contemporary art scene, advancing its global recognition and ensuring accessibility to audiences in India and beyond.

While working on exhibitions, how do you select the artists whose works should be showcased?
We employ a meticulous artist selection process for its collection and display, considering several key factors. These include artistic merit, relevance to the curatorial narrative, representation of diverse voices and a focus on emerging artists. The foundation's team of expert curators oversees this process, reviewing artist portfolios and proposals and making recommendations to the committee for the final selection. Furthermore, the foundation prioritises artists who engage and inspire audiences while making a positive impact on the community through their work. This rigorous and transparent selection process ensures that RMZ Foundation's collection represents the rich diversity and vibrancy of the Indian art scene, promoting high-quality, relevant, engaging and impactful art.

Can you tell us what we can expect next in terms of art?
Looking ahead, the foundation is poised for exciting new endeavours, such as institutional collaborations, artist-led workshops and the launch of a digital art platform. Beyond art, we are driven to address critical social and environmental challenges through educational and awareness projects. As a dynamic and innovative organisation, RMZ Foundation is positioned to continue shaping the Indian art scene for years to come with impactful and inspiring projects. Furthermore, the RMZ Foundation actively champions art and culture in public spaces by curating and commissioning diverse installations, including sculptures, murals and paintings. Having already adorned over 55 installations across flagship RMZ assets in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, they have ambitious plans to expand their art outreach to Mumbai, Pune and Goa by 2025.

Also read: Even Picasso had to practice, practice: Sketchbooks on display show whimsy, humor, determination

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