Usually, my visits to a mall burn a deep hole in my pocket. However, my recent visit to a famous mall in Delhi was an enriching experience. During my recent weekend visit to Select City Walk mall in Saket, Delhi I neither got my bag full of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics nor did I hog on food like I always do. Still, this visit left me overwhelmed. It was a lifetime experience. You must be wondering how a visit to the mall can be a lifetime experience. Well, it was supposed to be a routine visit to a mall, where I was planning to meet my friend and have some good time. It was turning out pretty normal, until I decided to visit the Apple service centre at DLF South Court Mall, Saket to get my phone’s OS updated. En route to the service centre, I happened to see KIRAN NADAR MUSEUM OF ART (KNMA). Wondering what a museum in a mall would have to offer, I decided to visit the place once I was done with my phone’s OS update. It took the guy at the service centre good 20-25 minutes to fix my phone. All this while, I had KNMA on my mind. I was neither excited nor was expecting much, but I still wanted to push through the door and witness what the museum had to offer.

As soon as I entered the museum, I stood still. Awestruck! Yes, that’s what I was. I entered a realm of artists and their artworks. I could have never imagined that a private museum could have such a rich repository of Indian paintings. Just a glance at the walls and I was spellbound by the collection of works by established modern and contemporary artists. The museum showcases works that are iconic and represent breakthroughs of development in Indian art. There was an on-going exhibition, “Hammer on the Square” that showcased works of eminent artist Himmat Shah and celebrated his artistic pursuit and rich oeuvre that had never been seen together in its entirety. Out of 300 artefacts by the artist that were on display, 215 were from the KNMA collection. The museum had put Himmat Shah’s famous terracotta sculptures, bronzes, and drawings on display. The artefacts on display also included his high-relief murals, burnt paper collages and silver paintings; which had hardly been seen by the Indian art fraternity and public. With this exhibition, KNMA aims to trace and underline Himmat Shah’s contribution to modern art. The museum has works of some who’s who of Indian art fraternity adorning its wall.

I spent around 45 minutes at the museum and had to rush back. On my way back home, I kept thinking about Indian artists and their work. I visualized Indian paintings that I had read about in school and on the Internet. For me, art and culture go hand in hand. India is a land of cultural diversity and varied heritage. This heritage of our country can be seen in its art. One can witness this art not only inexpensive art galleries but in rural India, where people still paint the walls of their house with Madhubani paintings. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora, temples of Khajuraho, all are the embodiment of Indian art. For me, exploring art is like exploring India through the eyes of the artist. But, how many Indians know about their cultural heritage? How many Indians can relate to art? How can we value our heritage if we cannot relate to it? These questions baffle me.

Usually, Indians don’t visit places like art galleries or museums. I, personally, feel that they should get acquainted with art, especially with art belonging to their country. It is the best way to learn history. KNMA, which is a non-commercial, not-for-profit organization, has taken the onus of acquainting people with Indian art and artists. It aims to bridge the gap between Indians and art through its exhibitions, publications, educational and public program. It is located at DLF South Court Mall and is well connected by public transport. There is no entry fee to the museum or exhibition area, thereby, making art accessible to all. So, if you are an art avid, you should definitely visit this place once. Visit this place once and I ensure you, you will be coming back for more.