A stunning space that speaks of its lady’s keen eye for art, Rasika Kajaria has blended in fabulous art and contemporary interiors beautifully. Bold pieces create a statement while never taking away from the elegance of it. Sharmi Adhikary takes a walk through.
There is a spectacular way in which the art in Rasika Kajaria’s home flaunts a personality of its own. Be it the luxurious Baccarat Umbrella chandelier greeting you near the entrance, the Vibha Galhotra river sedimentation installation created out of anklet bells or the 150-year-old Pichwai that graces one of the walls of the cosy den. Each one blends in with the contemporary interiors but converse in their own language with the onlooker. Art has become a living member of the Kajaria home in Sainik Farms, impacting the surrounding it has been set in. “When an artwork refuses to leave your mind after you have seen it for the first time, it’s a good enough reason to make it yours. This simple reason has driven me over the years that I have been collecting art,” says the art aficionado and owner of the gallery Exhibit 320.
Rasika got married to Chetan Kajaria of Kajaria Ceramics Limited, really young and when she moved into this home 17 years back, it was a blank canvas. “As an Economics student, I had nothing to do with art. But when my mother-in-law gave me this 6,000 square feet apartment to do up from scratch it was a learning curve. I visited galleries, trying to know, understand and appreciate art. I explored the idea of marrying beautiful art with interiors in a way that it makes an elegant and classic statement. What you see here is the culmination of all that experience,” recalls Rasika. Every room and its design have been well thought out. While there are small artworks in some areas, big and bold pieces grab eyeballs in many places. Creations by young emerging artists, a clan Rasika is extremely fond of and hopeful for, blend in superbly with works by established names. For instance, an acrylic on linen canvas depicting deers by the South Indian Magesh R fits in very well with a smaller but important work by Zarina Hashmi. “I’ve kept the colours very earthy, browns, charcoal grey and beige so that the artworks stand out. This way, we can keep adding and retouching the artworks here without disturbing the colour scheme,” says Rasika. Clean contemporary furniture gives the place a fuss-free look.
This year Exhibit 320 did exciting work with South Asian artists from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. “One artist whose work will create noise is Sumakshi Singh. Her creations with embroidery are conversation starters.” Rasika is extremely fond of bold three-dimensional pieces. There are several works like that in the house. One is the table top brass utensils installation by Subodh Gupta or the pop pink cow by Arun Kumar HG. But it doesn’t always have to be the popular names. A wooden statue installation by Baroda artist Rajesh PS is one such example. “It is a unique piece that showcases the artist’s eye for detail. I’ve always loved to adorn my house with sculptural pieces,” says the connoisseur, adding, “While on a holiday in Africa, I picked up an entire amethyst rock because it was such a beautiful organic structure. It doesn’t have to be made by anyone big. It should appeal to my senses and talk to me.”
What attracted Rasika to contemporary artworks, on canvas, video and installations, was that it became an expression of the artists’ view of life and times today. It is so easy to relate to this new age of art because the artists are one of us, she opines. “They know how we see the world and feel about it. There is a similar vein in the thought process,” says Rasika, citing the works of a young artist called Sachin George Sebastian whose paperwork installations Rasika loves and has displayed in her home.
Rasika is an extremely house-proud person and it shows in the way she speaks about every corner of the house. “I love interiors as it gives me a huge scope to play with art and to marry the two immaculately. It has been such a learning experience,” says Rasika.
Astunning space dotted with eclectic canvases and installations by many known names, Rasika says that her boys, Raghav and Kartik, also understand their mother’s love for art and have never too hyperactive around the expensive pieces. There’s a graphic architectural canvas by Sehar Shah, a Pakistan-born artist based in New York apart from a melange of other works by names like Jiten Thukral & Sumir Tagra, Nidhi Khurana and FN Souza. Rasika laughs and says that when she was doing up her home, she first bought the artworks and then decided on the colour themes of the decor that would fit in with her art collection. “I am so passionate about art that I always redesign the interiors based on the art that I keep adding to my collection.”
Photographs: Manoj Kesharwani