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    Devi Art Foundation

    Map Academy

    Articles are written collaboratively by the EIA editors. More information on our team, their individual bios, and our approach to writing can be found on our About pages. We also welcome feedback and all articles include a bibliography (see below).

    A museum and gallery located in the city of Gurugram, the Devi Art Foundation (DAF) is one of India's first major, not-for-profit contemporary art spaces.

    The DAF was first conceptualised in 2005 by Lekha Poddar and her son Anupam Poddar, with the goal of facilitating broader public engagement with the contemporary arts and creative expression in India. It was formally inaugurated in 2008. Its core collection – which comprises over 7,000 modern and contemporary artworks from India and its neighbouring nations – has been accumulated by the Poddars. By the 1980s, Lekha Poddar had built a collection of artworks by early to mid nineteenth-century artists, including those from the Bengal School and the Progressive Artists Group. After graduating from university in the 1990s, Anupam Poddar added to it by acquiring the works of artists such as Anita Dube, Bharti Kher, Mithu Sen, Subodh Gupta and Sudarshan Shetty. In recent years, the collection has expanded to include artists from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet.

    The DAF’s inaugural exhibition, Still Moving Images (2008), was curated by Deeksha Nath and Shweta Wahi and featured works by twenty five photographers and video artists. This included new media artists such as Kiran Subbaiah, Ranbir Kaleka, Shilpa Gupta and Tejal Shah. Its second show, Where in the World (2008–09), assembled works into four categories – Export, Uncollectable, Outrageous and Outraged – to examine the ways in which contemporary Indian art circulates across the world. The latest exhibition, titled Sunnata Samanta: Emptiness Equality (2020), was curated by publisher, writer and poet S Anand. The Foundation also runs several educational outreach programmes and has collaborated with several universities, including Jawaharlal Nehru University and Ashoka University.

    Sirpur House, the building which houses the DAF, was designed by architects Prabhaker Bhagwat and Aniket Bhagwat. It comprises 35,000 square feet, including 7,500 square feet of gallery space, and has a modernist aesthetic, with a corroded steel and brick outer facade. The building also serves as the headquarters for the Poddars’ family businesses.


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