India’s Richest Woman Nita Ambani Eyes The Art World

Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Sheena Wagstaff with Reliance Foundation chairperson Nita Ambani
(Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

India’s richest woman with a $20 billion family fortune and a 27-story sky palace in India’s south Mumbai, billed as the world’s most expensive home for its $1 billion estimated cost – Nita Ambani is now eyeing the art world. Her new interest is the conservation of Indian art forms and making them more widely known internationally. Recently her Reliance Foundation sponsored an exhibition of traditional Indian pichwai paintings of Shrinathji, the Ambani family deity, at the Art Institute of Chicago. She’s also the biggest funder of the new Met Breuer’s debut show of modernist drawings by Nasreen Mohamedi, the first museum retrospective of the artist’s work in the U.S. Nasreen’s exhibition ‘Waiting Is a Part of Intense Living’ made its debut at the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain this past September.

During an interview Nita says that she is planning a museum of her own in India with an exhibition space for traveling art shows to be housed in a massive convention centre that she’s building on a 19-acre plot close to her Mumbai school. To be opened in 2018, it will include exhibition areas, a 2,000-seat theatre, retail spaces, offices and residences.

Reliance is India’s largest private company, founded by Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s father Dhirubhai Ambani. Mukesh Ambani recently announced his foray into Reliance Jio with an investment of Rupees 1.5 trillion.

Talking about her interest in the world of art, Nita says, “When I set up the Reliance Foundation in 2010, I was keen that it promotes and nurture India’s ancient heritage in a holistic way. When the people from the Art Institute came to see me, I saw an opportunity to showcase our culture to a global audience.” Madhuvanti Ghose, the Art Institute’s curator of Indian art, says, “The speed at which the Ambanis work; no one else can surpass them. As for Ms. Ambani art is a new door for her, but now that she’s walked through, she sees how desperately we need her.”

Indian collectors have already ascended the upper ranks in the world of art. Hotelier Anupam Poddar and Kiran Nadar, the wife of HCL Technologies’ founder, Shiv Nadar have opened private museums for their contemporary art collections in the greater New Delhi.

Madhuvanti says, “Nita sits at the top of India’s wealthiest families, a tastemaker whose travels and causes are closely followed in Mumbai and elsewhere. Until now, she was best known for promoting health and education initiatives—as well as cheering on her husband’s cricket team and soccer league—but her artistic interests, besides dance, have long been something of a mystery.”

Nita’s love for art and sculptures reflects at her Mumbai mansion. Nita says she has slowly added modern and contemporary artworks, nearly all Indian, from earthy abstracts by M.F. Husain to the gold orb sculpture by Anish Kapoor that hangs in her living room. She recently commissioned Subodh Gupta to create a 9-foot-long installation using metal and brass cooking vessels to create a map of Mumbai.

According to a recent Forbes report Nita has been named the most powerful businesswoman in Asia by Forbes, leading a list of 50 women leaders from the region that includes eight from India.

Source -
Post a Comment

Popular Posts