About Lakeeren Gallery
M. F. Husain inaugurated Lakeeren Galleryin 1995 in Vile Parle, Mumbai as one the first galleries to exist outside the South Mumbai, Kala Ghoda art circuit. The gallery’s uniqueness stemmed from the fact that it challenged itself to present the avant-garde art practices that emerged at that moment to a new audience outside the usual South Mumbai collector’s circle. This moment of pre-global Indian art was a time when therewas an explosion of new material and new media visible in the works of younger artists, in which significant experimentation in photography, video, web based and installation art came to be viewed. The artists sought to employ unorthodox mediums such as rice paper, egg cartons, found objects, making Lakeeren one of the first galleries to exhibit this new genre of art, kitsch ephemeral sculptural, performance art practices that were in the process of being defined. This newfound materiality also needed a new understanding towards art and art object itself, leading the gallery to adopt a mission statement to create a “social forum for the appreciation of art and art forms through knowledge based interaction by not only exhibiting art, but also providing a much needed intellectual platform.” Thereby Lakeeren could be viewed not only as a gallery, but a much needed discussion platform that debated and articulated these new avant-garde practices in an Indian context.
M F Husain Inaugurated Lakeeren 1995
Investigating the Uncanny in Contemporary Times that examined the work from psycho- analytical perspective of Sigmund Freud. Along side Lakeeren I did maintain my independent practice as a curator having curated large-scale shows including Against All Odds: Historiography of Archiving, Collecting and Museums in India,LalitKala in Delhi, 2011; After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/ 1997 at the Queens Museum in New York City, 2015 and Given Time: The Gift & Its Offeringsand India Re-worlded: Seventy Years of Investigating a Nationat Gallery Odyssey allowed me reflect on important issues with the public realm.
Since 2017 I felt it would serve my interest best to shift to a nomadic platform both as a Curator and Gallerist wherein I could collaborate with new partners be it museums, galleries or as an individual curator, taking on projects that interest me. It is indeed challenging to constantly reinvent oneself take a risk-- restart perhaps in a new city, nation or location, but for me growing intellectually and doing exhibitions that challenge me is the only way forward. Time will tell about how this will work out, but I love freedom to work outside a specific location or geography making the world my oyster.
Although Lakeeren physically closed its doors in 2003, as I decided to peruse a PhD at Cornell University in History of Art department the gallery opened an “intellectual” space that would undertake to expand its art historical and curatorial enterprise oeuvre to also include global art practices. I curated Rites/Rights/ Rewrites: Women’s Video Art of the first video exhibitions showcasing early feminist video art shows that travelled to Cornell, Duke and Rutgers University. I reopened Lakeeren in 2009 in a new Colaba location expanding the vision of the gallery to Lakeeren’s “lines” as connecting nodes, or in the words of philosophers Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, to be considered within “rhizomatic” frame of reference to establish new relationships in the global landscape of art. I extended this rhizomatic way of thinking to allow cross-overs that intersectionsamongst various aspects of my practices as a gallerist, curator and art historian creating a unique “third space” that allows me to engage and push these areas to another level. Within these seven years Lakeeren’s exhibitions stemmed from a philosophical inquiry, for example All That is Solid Melts Into Air: Indian Contemporary Art in Global Times, History is…based on Walter Benjamin’s understanding of time or Uncomfortably Numb: