Nita Ambani launches India into increasingly global art world

posted by – 03/15/16 @ 3:48pm

Nita Ambani at the Met Breuer show featuring drawings by Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi, which she also helped fund. Photo: Stephanie Diani for the Wall Street Journal.

Nita Ambani is the matriarch of an Indian family worth an estimated $20 billion. Her husband runs the most valuable private company in India, and her family resides in a luxurious 27-story home in Mumbai. But, until recently, Ambani did not have much interest, or at least clout, in the art world as many people of her status and reputation do. However, in recent years, the former dancer has more and more frequently funded shows on an international level, including the Met Breuer’s debut show of Nasreen Mohamedi’s work.

In her biggest art-world move yet, Ambani is setting her sights on opening a museum of her own in India. The move excites many in the art world who already appreciate the support and funding the Ambanis have afforded major institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Met. Notably, the Ambani family have only funded shows in international organizations because, as of yet, shows of such a high caliber could not be brought to India, which lacks an appropriate exhibition space. The introduction of a modern, climate-controlled art space like the one to be opened by Nita Ambani in 2018 is unlike any other India has seen within its borders.

The new museum will launch India onto the global art market stage in a way it’s never experienced. While before Indian artists were represented and showcased at the discretion of foreign curators and gallery directors, India will soon have a space to fill with native artists. In turn, more Indian artists may gain and benefit from exposure that a museum-caliber platform entails. Additionally, it will be interesting to see whether the Indian art market becomes as hot and attention-grabbing as its Chinese neighbors’ with the introduction of more modern art spaces like Ambani’s museum. However, while China’s art market grows increasingly saturated and crowded, India’s is just getting started thanks to Ambani’s support, funding, and passion.

To read the Wall Street Journal’s full write-up on this story, click here.

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