Objectives

The Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) was established in 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 is committed to working in solidarity with initiatives addressing concerns of the marginalized; and supporting alternative and heterodox practices.

 

SSAF objectives are to:

 

  • 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, visual culture studies, research and curatorial practice, art pedagogy, literature and translation, documentation and archiving
  • 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 is 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 ‘Ivy Lodge’ at Kasauli, passed it on to her children, Vivan and Navina Sundaram, for artistic exchanges. Over the next fifteen years, the Centre organized artists’ workshops, seminars, theatre performances and film screenings.  SSAF is in the process of building a new infrastructure named SKAP- the SSAF Kasauli Art Project, which will conceptualise and host cross-disciplinary workshops, performances and residencies as extended projects.

 

The Foundation has established the SSAF Lab in Delhi, a space for workshops, screenings, lectures and discussions. A library and reading room will be developed in the future. The SSAF Lab and the registered office of SSAF are 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.