A week before the grand launch, the basement of Narain Manzil on Barakhamba Road, was just another sight — workers flitting about with storage boxes, painting jars lying in a corner, and throngs of office crowd streaming in and out. Hardly a cultural retreat, central Delhi throbs more with bustling office-goers, apart from the occasional buzz created by the various international centres such as the British Council and Goethe Institut, or the most recent Galleryske in Connaught Place. Which is why when we were alerted of a new gallery opening in the heart of the city, we were keen to see how the space, located within a prime office complex, pans out. A week later, there it was, a spacious, multi-roomed gallery in the basement, The Egg Art Studio, unraveling the idea of genesis in its inaugural exhibition, an apt metaphor for what the gallery stands for.
“This is what happens to a gallery when you remove the ego,” says Tavleen Akoi-Gill, 40, who heads the gallery with long-time friend and now collaborator, Amrita Varma, 36. While Varma has been in the industry for over ten years as an advisor, curator, critic and a painter, Akoi-Gill’s comparatively “untrained” eye grew sharper with her travels and an outsider’s approach to the field. The duo’s agenda with The Egg Art Studio is to employ the space as an incubation centre for emerging artists — a lot that must be mentored, guided but, eventually, left to their own devices, without compromising on the quality of work that they churn out. “People have been disconnected with art in the contemporary era and this disconnection stems from their clinical approach towards art,” says Varma, adding that the gallery aims to change that.
The space, for now, plays host to “Genesis—The Veil”, a show that combines works of emerging artists from across the globe, such as Delhi-based Anoop Kamath, photographer Fanil Pandya, Iranian artist Hojat Amani, and Maldivian artists Ahmed Suja and Ismail Asif, exploring birth and creation, transformation and destruction, completing a cyclical process that binds the show together. Varma and Akoi-Gill, however, maintain that they will not be belting out one show after the other, but will work towards building tools to understand art. The Egg, therefore, will also host book releases, performances, dialogues and workshops, among other events. “The artwork and its quality is the maker of this space. We want some honesty and integrity in the works,” adds Varma.