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Gallery/Dealer Details - Chemould Prescott Road

Gallery Chemould has been in existence for the past 43 years, since 1963. The little space on the top floor of the Jehangir Art Gallery, tucked away in one of the most central spots of the city, in the historic Fort Precinct, has been a nurturing ground for close to four generations of artists. The role that Gallery Chemould played in promoting contemporary art in India for the last four decades in many ways defined what role and function the art gallery was to play in India.

Chemould was responsible for discovering and giving opportunities to many an artist from M. F. Hussain, F. N. Souza and Tyeb Mehta, to Bhupen Khakhar and Atul Dodiya, to Jitish Kallat and Jagannath Panda, when none existed. It has not only been exhibiting, promoting, and selling artworks but has been responsible for creating an expanded playing field for artists and collectors.

Over the past five years the art world in India has grown into an increasingly specialized, professional field. Not only have the number of artists increased, but the number of art promoters, dealers, galleries, auction houses, art websites and publications grown. The current art scene has given artists huge opportunities to show internationally, the art market itself has expanded, Indian artists are experiencing a new sense of optimism and their horizons, aspirations and opportunities have widened.

We too at the Gallery have grown with the growing needs of the art market, and the needs of the artists themselves, in various ways. Our participations in important traveling shows have increased; the number of monographs, catalogues and books that we have been producing and publishing has been significantly increased as well. Our involvement working with curators on large-scale museum quality shows both within the country and abroad as also seen a rise.

In this light, it was inevitable that we also increased the physical scale of our operations. In order to keep up with the momentum of the art world, it was an opportune time to increase the size of the gallery. The confidence level of artists in today's art world is tremendous. Serious, thoughtful, intellectually stimulated artists are thinking big, not only in terms of scale, concepts, media, and material but also in terms of the scope of their practices. For galleries, it is becoming an urgent responsibility to be able to meet these needs and be able to provide larger exhibition spaces and venues, resources and guidance to artists to explore multi-layered possibilities.

Other than the artists, Gallery Chemould has also been nurturing the growing needs of its client base and their collections by providing advise and consultations. While the art "market" is an important consideration in such a scenario, it is not the ONLY consideration. Gallery Chemould, although by definition is termed "commercial gallery" has never really been one that has been merely that. It has filled the essential role of museum/alternative art spaces in their almost complete absence in India through its various activities and programs. These have included giving visibility to artists working in diverse modes be it painting, sculpture, video or installation, to guidance at all levels from presentation of their works to writing grant proposals and scouting venues and platforms to exhibit. With a larger space now, Chemould plans a variety programs like gallery internships, talks and events. This would help to build and generate the urgently needed culture base around art.

Giving opportunities to a new media works is something that we would like very much to programme. We try our best to provide every opportunity to our clients to expose them to artworks and creative ideas that are "out of the box", allowing for the chance to generate dialogue about the artistic process, thus creating a culture around creative practices and thinking, bringing diverse modes of art into the mainstream and into the daily lives and minds of people. Chemould Prescott Road, the Gallery Chemould's new venture is a step in that very direction.

The new gallery space, Chemould Prescott Road, is housed in a historic building of more than a 100 years old and is surrounded by other similar aged buildings. One could actually ‘live’ the city both through the inside and the outside of this beautiful building.

Our large 5000 square foot space has been divided to accommodate a storeroom, office spaces with grand arched windows that overlook the spectacular view of the surrounding neo-gothic heritage structures High ceillings, large walls, a fantastic area for sculpture, and state-of-the-art lighting is what the gallery provides to allow for the conceiving of high-quality exhibitions.

For Shireen Gandhy, the director of the gallery, who took over Gallery Chemould from her pioneering parents Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy, whether it was a decision on how lighting was to work, to the texture of the flooring, to the division of the space, every detail was one that had to be grappled with in order that the space lends itself to the artwork that will inhabit it. It was important that the space with all its grandeur also has its intimate moments, so a smaller space, enconsed within the larger one, will house exhibitions that might require a more private viewing experience, that will need its own quiet moments removed from the otherwise overwhelming scale of the gallery.

In keeping with the grandeur of Chemould Prescott Road, Gallery Chemould, at Jehangir Art Gallery, has been a "nesting place" for many, many artists and shows. What we would like to do with this is to have parallel shows when possible that speak to each other. It would also be a project space.

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