#ELLEVoices: Roshini Vadehra On How She Is #ImaginingTheWorldToBe
For ELLE India’s 24th Anniversary Issue, we decided to feature select women (and some men) who have stood out as strong role models in their fields. We were keen on knowing their thoughts on how they perceive the future to be, how they see their individual industries evolving, how they intend to meet the challenges and what their hope for the world is.
Besides making waves in the art world as a director of the Vadehra Art Gallery, Roshini channels giving back to the community through various platforms. She discusses the burst of new collectors in the art world and her expectations of new works born from the current turmoil.
ELLE: How has this pandemic impacted you? What have been your introspections, self-revelations and discoveries?
Roshini Vadehra: I don’t think any of us ever thought we would experience something like this! Professionally, we adapted very quickly to the new normal of ‘virtual’. From exhibitions to art fairs, we went digital for everything and got a hugely positive response. Personally, I became increasingly health-conscious and focused more on quality family time. We started spending more time in our home gym and experimenting with home-cooked meals. I also did four online courses on art history with MOMA. This was one of my highlights in the early parts of the lockdown, that I was enhancing my knowledge and engaging on a deeper level with the arts.
ELLE: What has the crisis has shown us as a community?
RV: One of the revelations that we’ve all had is the importance of community collaborations. Early in the lockdown, galleries came together on an unprecedented collaborative platform called In Touch. The art community also started an initiative called In It Together to raise funds for the migrant workers. I was fortunate to work closely on both, and it gave me an immense sense of purpose.
ELLE: In the coming years, what do you see as challenges in your field?
RV: The art world got used to being a merry- go-round of fairs, biennales and exhibitions. Most of us functioned without a break from that playground. The pandemic taught us to take a breath and reassess the non-stop nature of this world. It’s important for the art community to continue to work collaboratively. It is also important to ‘support local’ – be it artists or exhibition platforms. It is vital for the domestic market to continue to grow and support the local ecosystem.
ELLE: How do you see Indian art and artists evolving to accommodate the new demands of the consumers?
RV: During the lockdown, there was a burst of new collectors – people who hadn’t thought of ‘collecting’ art in the past but now saw great value as they spent more time at home. The new collectors as well as seasoned ones had more time to engage deeply in the arts. The gallerists and artists have adapted with extensive online discussions, talks and walkthroughs to give collectors the opportunity to research and engage more deeply.
ELLE: Over the last couple of months, artists have strongly voiced their emotions and thoughts through various art forms. Do you think the world might see some of its greatest works in the times to come?
RV: It is usually during times of extensive community turmoil – be it war, politics or a natural disaster – that the creative community produces its nest work. Many artists have already been prolific in the intimate surroundings of their homes and studios, and one expects that this time will have them produce some wonderful, sensitive work.
ELLE: How are you #ImaginingTheWorldToBe post COVID-19?
RV: The world may take some time to bounce back and it may never be the same again. I hope we have learnt compassion towards family, children, our community and the planet. Perhaps we needed a time like this to reflect and be more mindful on how we spend our energy and resources.