Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Kolkata gets a new culture hub

The city gets a 70,000 sq ft centre of creativity with the KCC

Pranit Sarda
Published: Dec 23, 2018 08:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Dec 21, 2018 08:04:07 PM IST

Kolkata gets a new culture hubExhibition Space of Contemporary Culture, 1st floor, KCC
Image: Emami Art, Kolkata Centre for Creativity

In 2011, Radhe Shyam Agarwal, founder and executive chairman of the Emami Group, told Mumbai-based architect Pinakin Patel that he wanted to do something around art. The latter, who had just finished designing the businessman’s residence, came up with the idea of a centre that promotes art and creativity. “He (Agarwal) told me, ‘first of all, go and make a building’,” recalls Patel. “So, we did.”

That building, located on Kolkata’s EM Bypass, with 70,000 sq ft dedicated to art, artists and art lovers, was inaugurated this November as the Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC). Helmed by Richa Agarwal, director of Emami Group and the CEO of Emami Art, KCC is a five-storey structure with a 10,000 sq ft art gallery, an amphitheatre, a dance studio, and a books and materials library. It will conduct annual art fairs, along with workshops and programmes for artists from across India. It will, Richa Agarwal says, support both senior and upcoming artists.

The amphitheatre on the first floor can act as an informal space for performance arts, explains Patel. “Artists can do casual demonstrations there, but it is not acoustically geared to be called a professional performance stage.

The multi-disciplinary art centre has two libraries located on the fifth floor. The first is a book library that is open to everyone. Although books cannot be borrowed out of the library, there are facilities for scanning, photocopying and printing sections of published works. The second is a materials library, which, Agarwal claims, is “a one-of-its-kind project in India.”

Kolkata gets a new culture hubThe amphitheatre, 1st floor, KCC
Image: Emami Art, Kolkata Centre for Creativity

Patel, who is also the creative director of KCC, adds, “In the materials library, you can see what new materials have come out and how they can be incorporated in your own creative practice.” The centre also plans to introduce a membership for artists who want to work for prolonged periods of time at KCC or the library.

The libraries share the floor with an art studio and a ‘maker section’ that can be converted to an artist residency space.

KCC was inaugurated with School, a retrospective on Padma Bhushan artist-designer Dashrath Patel, who was also the founder-secretary of the National Institute of Design (NID). Curated by Pinakin Patel, it includes the late artists’s photographic work, collages, line drawings, ceramic works, paintings, tapestry and sculptures. The exhibition, which will run till January 6, will soon be available as a virtual tour on Emami Art’s website.

(This story appears in the 04 January, 2019 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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