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:
in the following areas:
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.