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Chitrakoodam - A tribute to C N Karunakaran

26th February 2024 onwards

Chitrakoodam, an exhibition celebrating the life of artist C. N. Karunakaran’s large body of works, is a joint partnership between the Foundation and Palette People. The exhibition showcases the artist’s works for the first time ever in Bengaluru.

His paintings, which fall in the genre of the more popular artist A Ramachandran, with similar themes, have been well received by our regular stream of visitors. Karunakaran’s works look at the interplay between nature and humans, provoking thoughtfulness about co-existence even as his large canvases hold the viewer to rapt attention.

These works are on view at Gallery G and are part of “The Masters & The Modern”, the second edition of our annual exhibition.

Commemorating National Mexican Day

10th September 2022

To commemorate the Mexican National Day on September 16, the Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation and venue partner gallery g hosted an exclusive premiere of Diego & Frida: Life Chronicles.

A series of photographs exhibition, these never-before-seen photographs by different artists and authors chronicles, as the name suggests, the life and times of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, two of the most important people connected with Mexican history.

The event was hosted by Sandeep Kumar Maini, Hon. Consul of Mexico in Bengaluru in the presence of H.E. Mr. Federico Salas, the Mexican Ambassador to India on September 10, 2022.

The guest list for the special event included several consul generals from different embassies in the city. Notable among them were Mr. Patrick Mueller, Deputy Consul General of Switzerland, Dr Syed Azhar Ahmed, Hon. Consul General of the Republic of Maldives in Bengaluru, Dr C.N. Ashwath Narayan, Minister of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood in Karnataka.

The exhibition was inaugurated by the Mexican Ambassador H.E. Mr. Federico Salas and Dr. Ashwath Narayan.

The photography exhibition runs from September 10, 2022, to October 10, 2022. It is hosted by SGMF and gallery g in association with Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are one of the most celebrated couples of Mexican art history. Their charismatic personalities helped to establish a movement which would have a definitive influence on the cultural life of 20th century Mexico.

Together for almost twenty-five years (from their marriage in August 1929 until Frida's death), their relationship was defined by a myriad of encounters and failed encounters which transcended the realm of the private to become part of the public domain.

The romantic union between Kahlo and Rivera brought together intellectuals, politicians and celebrities. Their home was a place of gatherings, conspiracies and intrigue within the social and political life of Mexico.

Press coverage for the show can be accessed below:

Jay Varma’s - The Primacy of 5: The modern-day relevance of the Panchakanyas

3rd May 2022

After years of introspection and self-doubts, most of which was unwarranted, Jay Varma broke the mould, so to say. His first-ever solo show, The Primacy of 5 - Bringing the Panchakanyas to life, was an absolute winner, all the way. Having created the series based on his illustrious ancestor, one of India’s greatest artists, Raja Ravi Varma, Jay had a lineage to answer, to showcase and to emulate.

The recipient of one of the biggest grants by Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation, Jay’s journey into oil paintings is just seven years old. A remarkably talented artist, Jay’s ability and skill with pencil sketches and colour pencils saw him stay in that tough, if comforting zone for a long while.

Until he took the plunge and moved into the world of oils that the Varma surname so proudly projects. A sustained stint at an outlier studio in Philadelphia gave him the necessary boost and energised him to paint a series for his debut show.

The opening evening on Apr 16, 2022 for a select audience with a conversation between the artist and the well-known author Manu S. Pillai received a fantastic response. Jay modelled his series on the women from the epics and borrowed the theme from Ravi Varma’s works. But the similarity ended there.

Jay’s canvas is rich in colour and as he says, his palette is filled with more colours than his ancestor. To be sure, he isn’t seeking a comparison; he’s always wanted to be an artist in his own right and if anything, the Primacy of 5 ensured that the Varma legacy is in the right hands.

“Just as poets and storytellers over so many centuries have interpreted these heroines in unique ways, Jay also brings to them a fresh vision. It is traditional in drawing nourishment from age-old understandings of these figures, but also modern in how even the contemporary woman will be able to recognise herself in his paintings. The kanyas, in other words, are not just faraway characters, from ancient verses; they resonate to this day, because their stories are timeless,” explains Gitanjali Maini, Founder Trustee of Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation and gallery g.

Press coverage for the show can be accessed below:

Celebrating our 2nd Anniversary on GAC

Feb-March 2022

Having launched on the Google Arts & Culture platform in 2021, the Foundation celebrated its second year on the global digital domain with few new exhibits.

In addition to the ten exhibits on GAC, these five new stories showcase the diversity and depth of the Foundation’s work in arts.

Of the new exhibits, three showcase paintings by artists of three different genre while the other two, though broadly falling under the photography category, is as different as chalk and cheese.

Salman Khan, one of the newest AIP in the Foundation, exhibits his work through the Foundation with his series on Mother Teresa. Having displayed one work the previous year – Immortal: Selfless In A Selfish World – the actor painted two new works on the same theme.

The exhibit is titled Salman: Showcasing the Mother Through Art comprises new works by the artist, namely Begging For Peace and Still In Hope Of Compassion.

Jay Varma, recipient of one of the largest grants of the Foundation, showcases his portrait series. Titled Panchakanyas: Powerful Women From The Epics, Jay, the fifth generation descendant of one of India’s greatest artists, Raja Ravi Varma, interprets the Panchakanyas theme with a modern day portrayal.

Dinesh Magar’s work, The Character Of Light, exhibits the skill and craftsmanship of the artist, who uses special Swarovski elements in his works. Interpreted in detail by reputed photographer Sudhir Ramchandran, this exhibit has been captured in different forms of light, each revealing a stunning detail.

The two photography exhibits – Statues: Art of Political Symbols by veteran photographer GV Gireesh and Life On Hold: Lockdown In Shades Of Grey by Siddharth Pai, a businessman who is passionate about photography, are truly fascinating.

Ramappa Temple - Crest Jewel of Kakatiya Art & Architecture

November 17th, 2021

It was a talk that brought out how important heritage is to our culture, and how passionate a select few are with regard to preserving and promoting our heritage, both tangible and intangible.

Dr. Choodamani Nandagopal, the renowned historian, Tagore and UNESCO Fellow delivered a simple, yet inspiring talk on Ramappa Temple: Crest Jewel of Kakatiya Art & Architecture. A collaboration between Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation and Bangalore International Centre, the hybrid event which was live at the venue as well up on the zoom platform for a global audience was interesting and riveting even.

Dr. Choodamani is an authority on the subject and her and her team’s untiring efforts paved the way for UNESCO World Heritage status to Ramappa Temple. The presiding deity is Rudreshvara but the temple is known as Ramappa temple after the sculptor who built it, perhaps the only temple to be named after its craftsman.

As part of the talk, Dr Choodamani took the audience through the details of the Ramappa temple, the high UNESCO criteria(s) that needed to be fulfilled in order to obtain the status and the exhausting, yet exciting journey of preparing a dossier that would meet the tough and exacting standards.

As she talked about the unique sculptures, it was fascinating to learn that the regional dance customs and the figurines were not ‘idealistic’ as in most other temples, but remarkably depicted the locals. The tall dancing figures that abound in the temple, as Dr Choodamani explained, was typical of the tribal population from the region as evidenced by their features.

Ramappa Temple is the 39th site to be accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status in India and by the time she had concluded her lecture, there was one prevailing thought amongst most who had listened in: to plan a trip to Palampet in Telangana and take in the spectacular architectural beauty of Ramappa temple.

Manu S. Pillai's new Book launched - False Allies: India's Maharajahs in the Age of Ravi Varma

September 24th, 2021

It was an evening to remember and rejoice. One of the most keenly awaited events of the year, the book launch of False Allies: India’s Maharajahs In The Age of Ravi Varma by Manu S. Pillai, was a spectacular event.

Authoring his fourth book in five years, Manu is nothing if not prolific and SGMF is proud to be an intrinsic part of the journey. The book which looks at a period in Indian history through the paintings of Ravi Varma, was fully supported by SGMF, which is also the principal patron of the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation.

It was also the first live event in a while at gallery g, the event patron for all Foundation programs. Given the Covid protocols, it was an invite-only event limited to 60 guests and doubled up as a hybrid launch with many registering and logging in through the online platform.

This is the second association for SGMF with Manu, after the successful release of Rebel Sultans: The Deccan from Khilji to Shivaji in 2018.

False Allies was officially released by the Founders Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini along with the chief guest for the evening, Ambassador Latha Reddy and the moderator, Indira Chandrasekhar.

The conversation between the trio following the release was sparkling and entertaining as Manu dwelt on a couple of key aspects of the book. As the hour flew by, it was time for Q&A from the live audience as well as those who were part of the virtual launch.

You can view the launch of the book here: False Allies: India's Maharajahs In The Age of Ravi Varma.

You can read more about the book here: BBC Website, 27th September 2021.

Karnataka Samrajya

September 16th, 2021

An extremely knowledgeable scholar and researcher on Hampi and how it was known as Karnataka Samrajya, Dr. Vasundhara Kavali Filliozat presented a lecture on this topic on September 16. The octogenarian, who has spent several decades researching on the subject and is an absolute authority on the same, spoke eloquently on how the Vijayanagara kingdom was planned. She took the online audience through history, using exclusive maps and dwelt on the constriction of the old and new parts of the kingdom’s capital city, Hampi.

The information she shared shed new light on the phenomenal civic developments of the time and showed how it developed from being Hampi to become an entire state that was given the name Karnataka Samrajya.

You can view the webinar here: Vijayanagara to Karnataka Samrajya by Dr. Vasundhara Kavali Filliozat.

Art & Science of Metallurgy & Metal Artefacts

September 8th, 2021

With its ideals in promoting art, culture and heritage, the Foundation is actively involved in several all the three spheres. September, being globally celebrated as the Literacy month of the year is significant in the Foundation’s programs.

To commemorate the occasion, the Foundation was humbled and privileged to bring on board Dr. Sharada Srinivasan, one of the country’s illustrious academicians.

A Padma Shri awardee, Dr Sharada’s expertise is in metallurgy and the importance of scientific approaches in the study and documentation of metallurgical heritage and metal artefacts.

A distinguished scholar and a great speaker, Dr. Sharada, who is associated with National Institute of Advanced Studies, shared her high knowledge of archaeometric characterization of bronzes of South India.

You can view the webinar here: The Art & Science of Metallurgy and Metal Artefacts by Prof Sharada Srinivasan.

Next Level Efficient Listening

July 15th, 2021

Rajesh Nagjee a.k.a. The Next Level Guy, is an entrepreneur mentor, and CEO coach. For over 25 years now, Nagjee has been guiding and mentoring, creating awareness in what he feels many of us lack: A perspective and willingness to listen.

Strongly advocating that next level efficiency is linked to effective listening, Nagjee’s session was an eye-opener in several aspects.

The well-attended session saw the guests come away with some interesting and thought-provoking ideas to step up to the next level. As Nagjee is fond of saying “next level is something that everyone wants to get to.”

The captivating monodrama of Ahalya

March 6th, 2021

Ahalya, a monodrama in Hindi and the third part of the Panchakanya series was performed by Anjana Chandak on March 6 at hospitality partner gallery g’s premises.

Commissioned by SGMF, the five-part Panchakanya series has been hugely popular with several re-runs and performance artist Anjana Chandak kept the audience spellbound on this occasion too.

Performed for a special, invite-only audience of about 60, Anjana’s depiction of Ahalya, the mythological character who is deceived by Ind ra, cursed by her husband Gautama Maharishi before being released from the curse by Lord Rama, was supremely well executed.

The five-part Panchakanya series has been conceptualized by Gitanjali Maini and executed by Anjana Chandak. The earlier two performances include Aaj bhi Mandodari and Draupadi.

The performance of Ahalya was also to commemorate Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation’s five new exhibit launches on Google Arts and Culture. SGMF is the principal patron of RRVHF.

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's an artist, who knew?

February 26th, 2021

The Foundation has over the years supported and promoted artists by way of its Artists’ Initiative Programme. It is a delight to announce our association with Bollywood actor Salman Khan, who over the last 15 years, has been painting, away from the world’s eyes.

Having first exhibited his works in Dubai in 2009, Salman’s paintings haven’t been displayed after that. Having evolved as an artist in the years hence, Salman’s works will be showcased through SGMF from now on.

His new work Immortal: Selfless In A Selfish World was unveiled at the Foundation on February 26, 2021 as part of the launch on Google Arts and Culture. Besides this, some of the artist’s other works are also on display in one of the exhibits of SGMF on GAC. His works can be accessed on the exhibit Celebrating & Promoting Diversity In Arts.

The actor then posted on his social media accounts on Insta, Twitter and Facebook which went viral:

Awkward embarrassed n yet delighted, honoured, privileged n over the moon to display my work amongst such great artist n legends like Raja Ravi Varma, Abanindranath Tagore, & VS Gaitonde. In all humility thank u for the honour!

Press coverage can be found here.

SGMF on GAC – an association to cherish

February 26th, 2021

It is indeed a proud, yet humbling moment for the Founders. Backed by more than 15 years of work in promoting art, culture and heritage in their individual capacity before forming the Sandeep & Gitanjali Foundation, it is with delight we announce our association with Google Arts & Culture.

SGMF is the newest member on GAC, the globally popular digital platform, which hosts several top-notch museums and high-end galleries in the world. On February 26, 2021, the Foundation which works extensively in the arts and across the genre of literary, visual and performing arts, came up on Google Arts & Culture.

Showcasing the works and projects it has been involved in over the last 18 years, from the time Gitanjali Maini began to promote art in her individual capacity before setting up the Foundation, it encompasses the journey of the Founders in promoting arts, culture and heritage.

To celebrate the association, the Foundation opened the exhibition The Masters & The Modern, An amalgamation of the Old & New World Classics with works by Raja Ravi Varma, C. Raja Raja Varma, Neelakanta Pillai, Abanindranth Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy besides works from artists who have participated in the Kochi Muziris Biennale.

Gitanjali Maini, Founder Trustee of SGMF says: “It’s been 18 years since we have been working diligently, and silently, to help art and artists survive in a hard, and sometimes harsh ecosystem. In the process we took on projects of historical and cultural significance as well. India is a veritable treasure trove of history and has a large artistic talent pool. It is time more patrons came forward to offer their support to this community of creative individuals. “A country’s artistic community will not flourish if there aren’t enough patrons around. Sometimes buying and collecting art is not enough, and one has to do a lot more to keep the creative ecosystem thriving in a country. I hope people will be encouraged by the work we have done through SGMF and open their hearts to this extremely talented community of creative individuals.”

Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture, says: “We are delighted to partner with Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation. The collection and exhibitions showcase their stellar efforts in the preservation and promotion of arts, heritage and culture, offering a glimpse into nearly two decades of SGMF’s visionary programmes, support, mentoring and patronage for India’s diverse traditions.”

The Foundation can be accessed on Google Arts & Culture at:

Press coverage for the show can be accessed below:

Supporting the The Handmade Collective

February 22nd, 2021

The Handmade Collective by A Hundred Hands at the Bangalore International Centre on February 20-21, 2021 was supported by the Foundation. This edition was curated specifically to support the artists/artisans whose livelihood depends on ‘handmade’ and who are engaged in traditional craft. Around 65 participants including 12 urban and 53 traditional artisans were involved in the two-day collective. Total sales for the two days was over Rs. 3.2 lakh with all the proceeds going to the artisans, encouraging them to perseveres after an exceptionally difficult year.

A Hundred Hands is a registered charitable trust set up 11 years ago, which runs multi-faceted programmes to revitalise handmade crafts, and to build traditional Indian skills.

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