Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation (RF), is not only fond of varied art styles but is also working towards popularizing traditional Indian art forms. One such ancient style is known as Pichavai which includes painting Lord Krishna on cloth.
The Art Form
The art form is named so because the word ‘Pichavai’ means back and hanging in Sanskrit. One of the oldest existing art practices, Pichavai is done by the people living in the Nathdwara region of Rajasthan. Nathdwara is home to Lord Shrinathji’s temple with more than 100 families, which have strived to honor and preserve their ancestral traditions. RF has endeavored to help these families preserve the Pichavai art tradition. More than 700 paintings have already been created by Pichavai artists for Reliance Foundation. In terms of the market value of this art form, Pichavai paintings are priced at about Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 9,000.
Many of the Pichavai paintings were introduced to the western world by the Art Institute of Chicago. Nita Ambani explained how the art form received much appreciation in America, which is the reason why RF intends to increase awareness about it.
Through Nita Ambani’s initiative, RF is encouraging the 400-year-old art form by supporting 100 Pichavai artists. The artists are being commissioned to create Pichavai paintings that will be used by the foundation as corporate gifts for Diwali.
The 100 artists are working on paintings for the Corporate Headquarters of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), affiliate hospitals, offices, and the Mumbai convention center. Nita Ambani stated that since Lord Krishna is the family deity, all Ambani-family members are staunch devotees and this itself was a motivating factor behind the project.
Having vowed to promote all forms of art, Nita Ambani was also the biggest funder of Nasreen Mohamedi’s debut show of modern drawings at the Met Breuer. The first display of the artist’s work in the U.S., Nasreen Mohamedi’s paintings debuted in Spain at the Reina Sofia Museum with her exhibition titled ‘Waiting Is a Part of Intense Living’.
Nita Ambani explained how she considers Mohamedi to be an inspirational figure. She emphasized the importance and relevance of Mohamedi’s paintings in the current patriarchal society. Having collaborated with the Met to preserve and promote Nasreen Mohamedi’s legacy, Nita Ambani maintained that Reliance Foundation is extremely committed to celebrating diverse art forms.
Mumbai Convention Center
In a bid to create an avenue for traveling art shows and exhibitions in India, Nita Ambani is building a museum of her own in Mumbai on a 19-acre plot. The convention center would include a 2,000 seat theater, offices, retail spaces, and residences in addition to exhibition areas.
Nita Ambani’s admiration and appreciation for art are reflected at Antilia, her Mumbai home. A wide array of artworks, ranging from a metal installation by Subodh Gupta, earthy abstracts by M.F.Husain to golden sculptures by Anish Kapoor adorns her Mumbai residence.