Nita Ambani is an ardent art lover and has acquired many firsts in her life. She was the first person from South Asia to be honored by New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Nita Ambani was also appreciated for her work in education, arts promotion, and philanthropy in January 2017. She also became the first Indian woman in 2016 to be elected to the International Olympic Committee due to her contribution to the development of sports. Caroline Roux, the editor of annual London art guide, Frieze Week, said that she won’t be surprised if Nita Ambani becomes the first person in Mumbai to own well-known LOVE sculptures of Robert Indiana.
Nita Ambani’s love for art
Nita Ambani has a major collection of works by Anish Kapoor and Subodh Gupta. However, she refuses to call herself a ‘collector’. She said that she is just a beginner on the lookout for more. Her 25-year-old daughter, Isha is also an art lover. Nita Ambani said that Isha has introduced her to new artworks and artists. When her daughter graduated last year, Nita Ambani gifted a neon work to her, which was created by Tracey Emin. It had the words, ‘When I hold you, I hold your heart’.
Nita Ambani belonged to a middle-class family. Since the age of five, she began training for Bharatanatyam. She still practices the classical dance every day in the morning. Dance is meditation to her. She discovers her innermost self through dance. She believes that it keeps her connected to God and encourages her.
Nita Ambani conducted British Museum’s Mummy: The Inside Story exhibition at Mumbai in 2012. According to her, the exhibition witnessed 2.5 lakh visitors in three months.
Reliance Foundation also spreads Indian culture overseas. It sponsored an exhibition of highly detailed works of India, Krishna and Pichvai at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. To encourage the painters from Rajasthan and Gujarat, the Foundation gifted Pichvai works last Diwali.
The Ambanis are building a huge convention center in Mumbai. It will have three theaters and a new museum space to host traveling shows.
Reliance Foundation’s initiatives
Mukesh Ambani owns Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the second biggest company in India. The parent company has a number of ventures. Its retail arm, Reliance Retail is the biggest retailer in India. In 2010, Nita Ambani developed its philanthropic arm, Reliance Foundation. Reliance Foundation spearheads initiatives in the areas of sports, healthcare, rural transformation, and disaster response, besides arts and heritage.
Nita Ambani informed that both Mukesh and she are keen to bring about India’s social transformation. 3 million children are a part of Reliance Foundation’s junior basketball league consisting of 45 percent girls. Nita Ambani believes that not everyone is good at academics and hence they should get other opportunities. She dreams of India as a multi-sport nation.
Among other initiatives, the foundation planted 3.4 million mango trees near RIL’s refinery at Jamnagar so that all the 5500 employees and their families living there can enjoy a good environment. The region is now the biggest mango farm in Asia.