Pop Goes The Art: In Conversation With The Country’s First Pop Art Gallery Founder Amrita Deora

Amrita Deora had soaked in the sounds and sights of the Venice Biennale, and rubbed shoulders with art elitists in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
But the eureka moment would strike as she jostled in the crowd at the annual Durga Puja festival in Kolkata. Craning her neck to comprehend the architectural virtuosity of a pandal constructed with 8,000 kilos of glass, the wheels began turning. Why was there a stark disparity between the international art stage and the untapped talent within India, she wondered. Now the founder of The Designera, which is counted among India’s first pop art galleries, she appears to have inched closer to the answer.

Left – Handed Legacy

Pop, Clink, Fizz

With a background in commerce, Deora is pursuing a master’s degree in the history of design from Oxford University as she cleverly fuses her love for business with art. The resulting lovechild is The Designera, a haven that pays an ode to the whimsicalities of contemporary art right in the heart of Mumbai. “Pop art, at its core, is a celebration of popular culture and a reflection of the current zeitgeist. The pieces in our collection are an amalgamation of whimsy and vivid colours, often exploring humorous and thought-provoking themes that resonate with the pulse of modern society,” she shares.

Amrita Deora

All of 25 years, Deora is mindful of the responsibility she shoulders as a Gen Z founder in the relatively exclusionar Indian art scene. “My goal was to bring forth a fresh, youthful perspective into the art world. Traditionally, art has often been seen as the domain of the cultured elite, but I firmly believe that
art should be accessible and relatable to everyone. That’s why I chose pop art as a vehicle for elevating relatable symbols and motifs on canvas.”

The Pop in Popeye

However, when she embarked on the journey to establish her own gallery, she was surprised to find that there was no dedicated pop art gallery in India. The payoff would be worth the effort, as she would discover that the Indian art audience was eager for this evolution. “The art scene in India had remained slightly stagnant for an extended period of time, and there was a palpable appetite for a creative revolution, which we’re proud to be a part of,” she smiles.

Pop Art Tribute

The Art Of Artificial Intelligence

While she works on filling in the void, Deora has one eye trained firmly on the future as she attempts to blur the boundaries between art and technology. This has been evident in the enthusiastic response to the gallery’s work with augmented reality-enabled art. If you were to scan a specific selection of the paintings, they would spring to life through captivating videos displayed on the phone screen, adding an alluring new dimension to the painting. She enthuses, “We are also working on combining the power of artificial intelligence (AI) with the finesse of hand-painting, resulting in truly unique and captivating pieces. In our commitment to staying at the cutting edge of art and technology, we continue to invest heavily in research and development. This ensures that we not only embrace current technological advancements but also anticipate and shape the future of artistic expression in this exciting intersection of art and technology.

”As an art enthusiast, she remains no stranger to the concerns swirling within the world of art about what AI could bode for the future of the medium. Does she ever worry that AI could eclipse hand-created art in the years to come? She is quick to dismiss the notion. “With the rise of AI-generated art, there is a renewed appreciation for hand-crafted creations. This echoes the past when the increase of fonts simply made calligraphy and hand-lettering even more charming and valued. If there is one learning I have had in the world of art, it is that history always comes full circle,” she signs off.

Photographs Courtesy: The Designera Art Gallery 

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