A few hours back at Sotheby’s in New York about 100 Indian artworks have been put on auction in aid of KMOMA, the upcoming art museum in Kolkata.
KMOMA, or Kolkata Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, the first of its kind in eastern India is planned at Rajarhat for which the WB government has already allotted a 10-acre prime plot. Presently, it is operating from a 2-storey rented house at Ballygunge Place.
Rakhi Sarkar, the founder of CIMA (Center of International Modern Art) Gallery in March 1993, which is now located at Sunny Towers near Ballygunge Phari, is the main inspiration behind KMOMA.
Rakhi, wife of Aveek Sarkar, the doyen of ABP Group, is the managing trustee of KMOMA. Apart from her, renowned artist Jogen Choudhary is also a trustee there.
KMOMA is a unique joint-sector project that has as ‘partners’ the state government, the Center, the KMC, a clutch of corporate sector, and foreign governments through their subsidiaries like the British Council and Max Mueller Bhavan.
For all the pedigree that it has, KMOMA still has to garner funds for its projected Rs.500 crore Rajarhat museum. A small step in that direction is the art auction at Sotheby’s.
Under the hammer in today’s auction are masterpieces from both old and new artists, notable among which are those by Tyeb Mehta, Somnath Hore, Ram Kumar, Jogen Chowdhury, Ganesh Pyne, Rameswar Broota, Arpita Singh, K.G. Subramnayan, Badri Narayan and those of the younger generation such as Subodh Gupta, Chintan Upadhyay, Baiju Parthan, T.V. Santosh, Riyas Komu and Dayanita Singh.
Kolkata has art galleries, some quite old like Academy of Fine Arts started by Lady Ranu Mookherjee, but none comes near the massive scale with which KMOMA has been planned. When complete, it’ll surely be one of the ‘art destinations’ in India.
Below are 3 paintings by my friend, Santanu Roy (not in above auction).
Update (Dec 28, 2010)
Some visitors are asking about KMOMA (see comments below), perhaps thinking that I or this blog is somehow connected with it. That’s not true.
However, let me help you with some information I gleaned by searching for ‘KMOMA’. The site’s URL is http://kmomamuseum.org/ (it’s a wonderful site made in Flash), and their offices are located at:
83/1B Ballygunge Place, Kolkata 700019
A screenshot of the website is here below. Click on it for more info’.