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Reliance Foundation toasts Mumbai artist Mohamedi in New York

IANS  |  New York 

An exhibition of the works of the late Mumbai-based artist Nasreen Mohamedi was launched at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or simply The Met, here on Tuesday, supported by Nita Ambani-led Reliance Foundation.

The exhibition, which will be open to public from March 18 to June 5, is part of The Met's new series of modern and contemporary programmes, hosted at the landmark building designed by Hungarian architect Marcel Breuer here.

Inaugurating the "historic!" exhibition, Ambani said Mohamedi had been an inspiration to her as "in a patriarchal culture she created strong and assertive works".

"It is a proud moment for every Indian, especially so, for Indian women," she said expressing her strong belief that Indian art needs wider global appreciation.

"The richness and diversity of Indian art is truly brilliant," she said. "Over the years, I have come to share a very special bond with the arts."

Ambani said her love for art started at the age of 5 with Bharatnatyam, and her training in the Indian classical dance form "has helped me develop a deep appreciation for all forms of art, leading to what we do at the Reliance Foundation today".

Her husband Mukesh Ambani and she believed that "social sector development is most important for India as its economy grows. It is integral to building an inclusive India".

That is why they established Reliance Foundation in 2010 with the vision of sustainable development and economic growth.

Working in the areas of rural transformation, health, education, sports, arts and culture, and disaster response, the Foundation has already transformed the lives of over 6 million Indians, she said.

Sheena Wagstaff, the chair of the Met's modern and contemporary division, apparently got Nita Ambani interested in the whole project.

"One of our goals with The Met Breuer is to present thoughtful exhibitions that posit a broader meaning of modernism across vast geographies of art," Wagstaff said.

"The poignant story of Mohamedi, a relatively little-known but significant artist, reveals a highly-individual artistic quest, drawing on historic sources from across the world, alongside her evocative photography as an unexpected form of visual note-taking."

The exhibition is being co-hosted by the Queen Sofia Museum of Spain and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

"One of the most significant artists to emerge in post-Independence India, Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) created a body of work that demonstrates a singular and sustained engagement with abstraction," The Met said.

What has come for praise is her minimalist practice, which not only adds a rich layer to the history of South Asian art, but also enrages the scope of the narratives into international modernism.

Mohamedi's inspirations came from poetry of Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke and French philosopher-author Albert Camus, as also classical music and the modernist architecture of Le Corbusier's Chandigarh.

Mohamedi is also believed to have had an exposure to Western and Eastern philosophy, poetry and literature, which can be seen in her diaries that include quotes by Rumi, Ghalib, and Mohammad Iqbal.

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First Published: Tue, March 01 2016. 21:58 IST