Creating a room for art

Gautam Amonkar speaks about the newly opened Sala de Arte an initiative to display and appreciate art by artists and art lovers alike

The newly opened Sala de Arte is a state-of-the-art gallery for artists and creative designers with an aim of providing art connoisseurs and promoters with an equipped space to display, interact and appreciate art. Located at Patto Plaza, this brain child of Gautam Amonkar is spread over 1650 square feet and intends to provide a stimulus to amateur as well as established artists to display their work.
Gautam completed his engineering studies and began his career with a construction company following which he started his own construction business. In the past three decades he has been actively focusing on investments in art and startups. One of his dream projects has been farming–developing cultivable land for farming in Goa.
Gautam was attracted to art right up from his childhood days where he was exposed to different art forms – performing and visual arts from all over the world.
“I have always been drawn to artisanal works created in different parts of our culturally enriched country. I have been collecting diverse artforms in the last 20 years with artists such as F. N. Sousa, M. F. Hussain, Jogen Choudhary, Jamini Roy, NS Bendre, KH Ara, Laxma Gaud, Mario Miranda, Hesham Malik and others in my collection. Amongst the Goan artists, I have extensively collected works by Mohan Naik, Suhas Shilker, Laxman Pai, Vamona Navelkar, Nirupa Naik, Viraj Naik, Rajashri Thakkar and so on.” He elaborates on his purpose behind setting up Sala de Arte. “Throughout my life (and I’m sure in the years to come), I have witnessed a spectrum of individuals with differing perspectives and eye towards art. The personal dialogue that one tends to have with the works is something that has intrigued me. As an ardent collector of art, the predominant factor that comes to my mind is strengthening and nurturing social bonds by means of which people can freely express their inner depths to one another, something that now seldom exists in the broad millennial world. The eagerness to learn and the curiosity to delve into differing emotions have led me to collect art. These are some of my driving forces that led me to set up Sala De Arte – a quaint space that aims to exhibit works of established as well as budding artists in all spheres of Art.”
The inaugural show was curated by Sandeep Murgaonkar and organised by Shikha Sardessai. Named as ‘Multiple Impressions’, it featured six well-known artists – Francis Desousa, Mohan Naik, Suhas Shilker, Vasudev Shetye, Viraj Naik and Vitesh Naik.
Gautam then goes on to speak about how artists have managed to keep themselves relevant during the pandemic. “Relevance of art is a relative term and is purely situational. What seemed to be strong in the Baroque period may have been reinstated with a different style in the Art Noveau, Fauvism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism periods. I believe the artists have suffered from loss of sales, cancelled openings and other limitations to showcase their artworks in their desired milieu. However, artists are adept at innovating and shifting the landscape. I am sure the struggle has been overwhelming and for a few there have been standstill moments. The artists we worked with have been motivated through the pandemic with ups and downs, where they focused on creating art with a finality of hope. They were all hopeful that we would be able to breathe freely in the near future and this has led us to displaying their phenomenal works in the launch of our art space – Sala De Arte.”
Gautam concludes with his opinion on the future of art in a post pandemic world. “We need to be more inclusive in our approach in not just selling but educating people around us to trust Art. People need to be receptive when viewing a piece of work and that would lead them to eventually talk about it in society. Selling art is just the ultimate outcome of the whole process. We intend to have the artists themselves talk about their work and the difficulties they have gone through whilst/before creating them. We also intend to have a mix of artforms in our gallery – sculptures, pottery, organic clothing, statement furniture, jewellery, handlooms, etc”

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