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In the serene backdrop of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi in Southern India, a new chapter in contemporary art is set to unfold. This month sees the inauguration of Hampi Art Labs, an 18-acre arts center that promises to be a nexus for artistic innovation and cultural exchange.

Founded by Sangita Jindal and her daughter Tarini Jindal Handa of the JSW Foundation, the center is a testament to their three-decade-long commitment to art and heritage in India. The facility is designed to be a confluence of creativity and contemplation, offering artists world-class facilities for art-making, including exhibition spaces, studios, and residential apartments.

Hampi Art Labs’ location near the historic city of Vijayanagar enhances its ethos, drawing inspiration from a region where art, architecture, and literature flourished for centuries. The center’s design by Mumbai-based architect Sameep Padora seamlessly integrates with the landscape, with an emphasis on locally sourced materials.

The inaugural exhibition, “Right Foot First,” showcases a collection spanning from 1998 to 2023, featuring works by renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Ai Weiwei, and Atul Dodiya. This exhibition is not just a display of art; it’s a narrative of the evolution and intersections of different art movements over the past 25 years.

The center’s vision extends beyond exhibitions. Its education program aims to engage both the local community and international visitors with contemporary art. Workshops and learning activities are designed for schools in the area, fostering cultural connections across the Global South.

Image: Hampi Art Labs

Future exhibitions at Hampi Art Labs will consist of new commissions and collaborations with residency alumni, offering a dynamic and evolving platform for contemporary art. The inaugural residency cycle welcomes artists Bhasha Chakrabarti, Sharbendu De, Madhavi Gore, Promiti Hossain, and Anirudh Singh Shaktawat, marking the beginning of a journey that intertwines local craftsmanship with contemporary artistic expressions.

Sangita Jindal remarks on the lab as a “major contribution to arts infrastructure in India,” while Tarini Jindal Handa envisions it as an “inclusive artist-first center.” The project is a legacy of their family’s longstanding commitment to art and cultural preservation.

Hampi Art Labs is more than just an art center; it’s a bridge between the past and the present, a place where heritage meets contemporary creativity. As it opens its doors, it not only offers a new space for artistic creation but also symbolizes a new era for the Indian art scene on the global stage. With its unique location, world-class facilities, and a visionary approach, Hampi Art Labs is poised to become a pivotal landmark in the landscape of contemporary art in India and beyond.