Gallery Ark opens their upcoming exhibition ‘Parsec’ curated by Nupur Dalmia, the gallery’s last commercial exhibition before they begin a new chapter as the Ark Foundation. Opening in Vadodara on the 28th of March 2022, the exhibition features works by 19 Indian artists including Aaiushi Beniwal, Alexander Gorlizki, Messrs Prabhakar B. Bhagwat, Deepak Agasthya, Indrapramit Roy, Jyoti Bhatt, K. G. Subramanyan, Kadamboor Neeraj, Kaizad Modi, Mrugen Rathod, Nihaal Faizal, Rekha Rodwittiya, Roshan Chhabria, Sarasija Subramanian, Shilpa Rangnekar, Teja Gavankar, Vasudevan Akkitham, Vimal Ambaliya, Walter D’Souza. As Gallery Ark's final exhibition, Parsec bookends the gallery’s journey with an expansive curation of artworks by artists who have moulded the organisation’s growth as one of Vadodara’s leading cultural spaces. The ambitious curation brings together works by senior artists who have played a pivotal role in shaping the course of modern and contemporary Indian art as well as younger, emerging artists with compelling practices that hold a light to the future. The exhibition is a panoramic view of a rich melange of practices with the impressive Ark building as the backdrop.
The title of the show - Parsec - is a reference to a unit measure of distance, equal to 3.26 lightyears, most famously referenced in the Star Wars movies as a measure of time – “[the Millenium Falcon] made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs”. The word itself is a portmanteau derived from two words, ‘Parallax’ and ‘Second’ respectively, and literally means ‘a parallax of one second’. In the context of the exhibition, Parsec alludes to the Ark organisation’s evolution through the experience of platforming myriad practices and sharing these with an audience whose experiences of receiving these has shaped the cornerstones for the next chapter. Talking about the exhibition Curator Nupur Dalmia shares - “Gallery Ark opened in May 2017 with our first show, Walter & Friends, a salute to Walter D'Souza and his many artistic and structural interventions within key areas of our space in Vadodara. Four and a half years later, we find ourselves at an exciting cusp of transitioning from Gallery Ark to Ark Foundation. With the support of vibrant and diverse creative forces, including those represented in Parsec, our vision for Ark has been distilled into a clear mandate that aims to create opportunities for a widespread and dynamic engagement with the arts, using narratives centred in Vadodara's visual art oeuvre. As Gallery Ark's final exhibition, Parsec commemorates the many journeys – those of Gallery Ark, its patrons, and team – that have truly inspired our conviction in Ark's vision going forward. The exhibition therefore, has been conceptualised as a manner of honouring the people who have played significant roles in moulding my experience in the industry, and as well been instrumental in building the dream that is our vision for the Ark Foundation.”
Nupur Dalmia is the Director of Gallery Ark and the soon to launch Ark Foundation. She holds nonexecutive roles in Rubamin Limited (strategy and business development) and Arata (investor and Member, Board of Directors). After majoring in Literature and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, she completed an MBA from the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. Since its inception, Gallery Ark has endeavoured to platform and celebrate Vadodara’s rich cultural heritage. With Nupur at its helm since 2019, the gallery’s scope has grown to include programmes that promote dynamic modules for pedagogy and access to visual arts in India. Nupur’s chief interest lies in understanding macro patterns of visual art viewership, its mediums of dispensation, and researching possibilities for augmenting it among various audience groups using technology, pedagogy and behavioural interventions. In order to pursue this inclination, she is currently leading the organisation’s transition from its current form as a commercial art gallery to the Ark foundation, which will strive to create opportunities, and provide incentives for widespread engagement with visual art in India.
Parsec will be documented within a larger publication that will be released towards the end of 2022, and will include a full catalogue of this exhibition, a brief history of Ark's programme with essays by some of India’s leading cultural thinkers and friends of the Ark organisation. Gallery Ark was founded in 2017 by Seema and Atul Dalmia, as a natural progression of their passion and patronage of the arts for over a decade. The gallery, now at the helm of Nupur Dalmia, is housed in Ark – a building designed by Messrs Prabhakar B. Bhagwat. Gallery Ark promotes the accessibility of contemporary art and brings a sense of identity to the ever-growing artistic community of Vadodara by hosting various performances and exhibitions that promote artists at all levels. The space has become a cultural hub, creating a platform for contemporary art and multidisciplinary collaborations as well as promoting conversations on patronage.
Over the last four years, Gallery Ark has curated exhibitions with established artists such as Ganesh Gohain, Jyoti Bhatt, K. G. Subramanyan, Alexander Gorlizki and Jethro Buck as well as younger artists, including the gallery’s roster of Deepak Agasthya, Mrugen Rathod, Teja Gavankar and Vimal Ambaliya. As a part of its gallery programme, beyond the schedule of exhibitions, Gallery Ark hosts several collateral events such as the K. G. Subramanyan Memorial Lecture Series, with talks by stalwart academics like B. N. Goswamy, Kavita Singh, and Tapati Guha Thakurta and digital events such as the Artists’ Roundtable - a conversation with three upcoming artists Arshad Hakim, Sarasija Subramanian and Moonis Ahmad Shah. Over the last year, Gallery Ark has put together a series of artist-led artist modules called Propositions, presented in collaboration with Bangalore-based Reliable Copy and supported by the Rubamin Foundation.
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