Jamia Art Gallery, New Delhi
When we first featured Romi and Martand Khosla’s work last July (w* 112), showing their student canteen design in New Delhi’s Jamia University, their next-door Art Gallery project was also already well underway. Less than a year on, and the gallery had its inauguration, opening up its art collection to the public.
See more of the just-opened Jamia Art Gallery
The demand for a building to house the institution’s growing collection of Indian art reached a peek in 2008, when the university’s Vice Chancellor proposed the creation of a cultural hub within the campus, which would include an art gallery. The neighbouring canteen and the landscaped open space surrounding them are also part of the same scheme.
The architects worked on the gallery’s design, having in mind not only a space for artwork display, but also a place of gathering and personal expression for the student community; the halls were also destined to host regular student exhibitions. Designed as a simple airy space with a clean façade covered by white metal louvers, the gallery contrasts against the nearby canteen’s slightly darker marble. The interior is also clean and bright, combining a pale colour palette with plenty of natural and controlled light.
The building includes three main gallery spaces and two studios, which will be offered to visiting artists for short-stay residences. The main gallery at the front of the building is brightly lit and as it is also the most prominent space and the first one a visitor walks into, it is planned to show mainly popular art and student work.
The adjacent second hall is a flexible space, which can be divided into 2 rooms if needed, to host the university’s permanent art collection as well as occasional temporary shows. Through this space, the visitor reaches the courtyard in the rear side of the building, where the open-air sculpture is displayed.
The opening exhibition showed off the university’s rich permanent collection including works by Ramachandran, M F Husain, and Paramjit Singh, collected through acquisitions and also many donations. However what really promises to woo the crowds is are the lively summer student shows coming soon.