Palace of Art

The Sculpture Park at the Madhavendra Palace at Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur is India’s first contemporary sculpture park — a treasure trove of mesmerizing, thought-provoking and evocative art pieces.

Anchored by: Deepa Nair
Photographs: Dhruv Malhotra and Saat Saath Arts, courtesy The Sculpture Park

An overview of the Madhavendra Palace at Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur, which houses India’s first contemporary sculpture park.

Through a unique collaboration between the Government of Rajasthan, Saat Saath Arts and a number of corporate sponsors, Madhavendra Palace at Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur, has transformed into India’s first contemporary sculpture park. Exhibiting a range of high-profile Indian and international contemporary artists, The Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace was formally launched by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje on the 10th of December, 2017. “For many years now, people have been coming to this beautiful palace — they come, they look and go away, but to keep this space living, it is important to merge it with today and if people are able to get to the works, where their imagination can be captured, where things can take off, where things can happen within these beautiful walls, I think it’s a privilege for someone like me to allow it to happen. For Jaipur, it is a great privilege to be able to see these international artists,” said Vasundhara Raje at the inauguration.

The Hundred Petal Lotus by Vikram Goyal is inspired by the idea of the ceremonial Hundred-Petal Rose. Vikram’s stylized lotus sculptures are handcrafted by skilled artisans in stepped tiers using multiple sheets of beaten brass. The installation, designed for the roof of the Palace, places one Lotus on each of its twelve platforms.

The palace has now turned into an art gallery with sculptures displayed both indoors and outdoors. The first exhibition includes artworks by 15 Indian and nine international artists and is curated by Peter Nagy, Director of Nature Morte Art Ltd. The works will be on display until November 2018. Artists include Arman, Huma Bhabha, James Brown, Stephen Cox, Anita Dube, Vibha Galhotra, Vikram Goyal, Subodh Gupta, Evan Holloway, Matthew Day Jackson, Hans Josephsohn, Jitish Kallat, Reena Saini Kallat, Bharti Kher, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Manish Nai, Gyan Panchal, Prashant Pandey, Benitha Perciyal, Ravinder Reddy, Arlene Shechet, LN Tallur, Thukral & Tagra, and Asim Waqif. All artworks for the exhibitions are sensitively installed to ensure no damage or markings to stick to any surface of the palace.

This partnership is a first of its kind where the Government has collaborated with a range of corporate sponsors and private individuals to bring a contemporary edge to India’s heritage properties, with the purpose of boosting national and international cultural tourism and visitors to the site. Many renowned international galleries have also come forward to support this initiative by lending the artworks including Hauser & Wirth, London, Salon 94, New York, Xavier Hufkens , Brussels, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York and Livingstone Gallery and The Hague.

Stephen Cox’s Rishi I represents a figure with the minimum intervention made on to the stone itself. The stone, basalt, was taken from a place where some of the oldest
stones on the Earth’s surface can be found.

Now increasingly regarded as a catalyst for cultural intermingling within India and across the world, Jaipur is on a global art map and seeks to establish itself as a centre for artistic engagement in India by drawing from the rich tradition and culture from all over the world. The state’s cultural tourism has had a great impact after adopting the contemporary culture and supporting a series of cultural events like the renowned Jaipur Literature Festival and an international photography festival Jaipur Photo. In collaboration with eminent professionals from diverse fields, the state also supports various contemporary visual arts, photography and music. The Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace, Nahargarh Fort, is a great example of a public-private initiative and will encourage the Government to support contemporary art in India.