The Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) was set up in the year 2016 with the mandate to carry forward the legacy of scholar and photographer, Umrao Singh Sher-Gil (1870–1954); his daughter and a pioneering figure of modern Indian art, Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–1941);  her nephew and niece, artist Vivan Sundaram and filmmaker and television journalist, Navina Sundaram.


SSAF seeks to enable conjunctions of artistic and cultural practice that deal with historical memory, and to build expectations for the future. It commits itself to advancing creative independence for art that is founded on freedom of expression, and which is secular. It will work in solidarity with initiatives addressing concerns of the marginalized; it will support alternative and heterodox practices.


SSAF will:

  • initiate as well as collaborate with cross-disciplinary, leading-edge practices in the arts and in intellectual work;
  • extend support to ongoing projects of other institutions and individuals;
  • make strategic interventions into existing institutions and public forums

in the following areas:

  • art practice in the social domain, such as public art and installations, photography, experimental video, documentary film, performance art and theatre, contemporary dance and sound art
  • art history, critical writing, art curation, art pedagogy, literature and translation, documentation and archiving, surveys and other forms of field work
  • dissemination activities that enhance the quality of intellectual and creative public life, such as organizing talks, cross-disciplinary workshops, seminars and conferences (spanning the arts, history, social sciences, cultural studies, environment studies, etc.)
  • international collaborations and exchanges, travel and research grants
  • publication of books/journals in print and electronic formats
  • scholarships for young artists, art historians, critics and curators in India.


A key initiative of SSAF will be the re-invention of the Kasauli Art Centre, which was founded in 1976 when Indira Sher-Gil Sundaram (1914–1975), who lived in and built up Ivy Lodge at Kasauli, passed it on to her children, Vivan and Navina Sundaram, for future art activity. Over the next fifteen years, the Centre organized artists’ workshops, seminars, theatre performances and film screenings.  SSAF will now build a new infrastructure named the Kasauli Art Project. This will set up cross-disciplinary workshops and residencies as extended projects.


The administrative centre and registered office of SSAF will be located at 3/9 Shanti Niketan, New Delhi, in the residential premises bequeathed to Vivan and Navina Sundaram by their father K.V.K. Sundaram (1904–1992), ICS, who was the first Law Secretary and second Chief Election Commissioner of independent India.


SSAF will also seek to institute a Centre in Delhi for art-related activities, which will include a space for exhibitions, a library and reading room, a lecture theatre and a screening space.