is not a bad word" - Geeta Raheja
A woman of strong conviction, Geeta Raheja wants to take her
Fine Art Company to the common man, bringing in a level of art awareness.
is not a bad word," says Geeta Raheja, wife of
Vijay Raheja, Raheja Builders Group, and the artistic brain
behind The Fine Art Company, one of Mumbai's premier art
galleries. She vehemently argues, "I do not think
there is anything wrong with commerce and art going hand-in-hand.
It is only when we make money that we can put it back into art.
Whether it is an artist or a gallery person, the minute we make
a sale it acts as a motivation."
Fine Art Company, in today's techno savvy world, hopes to cross
physical barriers and limitations, presenting a consolidated and
cross cultural whole to the city. A section of the gallery houses
books related to all forms of performing and visual arts, hoping
to make the gallery a place synonymous with 'aesthetics.' "I
studied interior decoration at the J J School of Art, about 20 years
ago. A lot of my friends in college were artists who kept me updated
on the art scene. That is how the Fine Art company came into being,"
says Raheja. This private gallery with a difference, associates
with contemporary Indian art and interaction between the other performing
and visual arts.
series of slide shows, talks, poetry readings, book readings, environmental
discussions, play readings, Indian classical vocal performances
and even jazz and blues evenings are part of their activities. But
is art meant only for the elite? "I would like it to be
for the common man. I do not think that you have to possess everything
to enjoy it. When I got into the gallery business I was naive enough
to think that I could change its 'elitist status' overnight. It
was my dream to have people just walk in and out of the place just
to enjoy the work. Unfortunately for security reasons, I cannot
open my gallery to the public. The other way I found was to have
workshops and draw in a different category of people who do not
otherwise go into galleries," avers Raheja. Some of her
plans include a move towards more interactive space for various
cultural disciplines. Last summer, the gallery successfully conducted
workshops in mask-making and enamel jewellery organised by artists
from the Baroda School of Art.
Being an interior decorator herself, is she promoting art that
fits in with interior decor? "It works both ways, there
are people who buy art because they love art or because they want
something to fit in their interior decor. But obviously they are
not buying something that they cannot associate with. In addition
to the fact that they are picking up art that fits in with their
interiors, they are also picking up art that reflects their personality,
their aspirations. That is exactly what art is all about,"
Raheja is quick to retort. She feels that even people with greater
purchasing power more often than not buy jewellery rather than art,
because of lack of awareness.
Raheja has also been involved with 'Mobile Creches,' an organisation
that looks after children of migrant construction workers, for over
four years. She has been selecting and presenting the works of young
artists (aged 5-12 years) that the Mobile Creches look after at
the various construction sites.
The Fine Art Company, Raheja Chambers,
Linking Road & Main Avenue,
Santacruz West, Mumbai - 400 054
Phone: 605 6455, Fax: 649 7551
By: Anupama Vinayak