Monday, September 21, 2009

Galleries at AEI: Peep into dazzling Dhoomimal

One of the most prominent and oldest galleries in India, Dhoomimal was established by Shri Ram Babu Jain in 1936. An ardent art lover, he was also into printing & publishing business before switching to an art venture. His keen appreciation for art brought him in touch with several leading artists of those times. This interaction gave rise to Dhoomimal Gallery in New Delhi’s Connaught Place area.

To begin with, it displayed the works of many well-known painters like Jamini Roy and Sailoz Mukherjea. Dhoomimal soon became a hub for diverse art practices as well as a meeting ground for the capital's top artists. In the late thirties it supported a forum for the like-minded individuals that sponsored art exhibitions and organized musical evenings.

Shri Jain initiated publication of monographs on artists like Jamini Roy, Sailoz Mukherjea and Abdur Rahman Chugtai. The gallery acquired an all India focus in the forties. After Shri Jain’s untimely demise, the leadership passed into the hands of Ravi Jain, his son who had just returned from the US. The gallery was rejuvenated under his leadership.

Dhoomimal entered a glorious phase in the 70's, by virtue of its association with artists such as J. Swaminathan, Shanti Dave, M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, Krishen Khanna, H.A. Gade, among a host of others. Its collection boasts of the artworks by stalwarts including Souza, J. Swaminathan, Gade, Anjolie Ela Menon, Bimal Das Gupta, Krishen Khanna etc.

Under the leadership of mother-son duo of Ms Uma Jain and Uday Jain, the gallery continues to be one of torchbearers of the Indian contemporary art not only within the country, but also abroad. It promotes genuine talent by offering scholarships to the deserving artists many of whom like Hemraj, Somnath Singh, M.S.C. Satya Sai and G.R. Iranna are now top names in the contemporary art world.

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