Bengaluru: Hampi Art Labs is an arts centre located near the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hampi in the South of India, that was launched in February 2024. Set across 9-acres of landscape, the centre offers artists unique production facilities, an environment to creatively retreat in and galleries for world-class display. The site comprises exhibition spaces, studios and apartments for residencies, gardens, and a café.
Evolving from a legacy of supporting art and heritage in India for over 30 years and founded by Sangita Jindal and her daughter Tarini Jindal Handa, Hampi Art Labs is an initiative of the JSW Foundation – the social development arm of the JSW Group, one of India’s leading business houses.
“Hampi Art Labs marks the next chapter in JSW Foundation’s legacy of supporting the arts ecosystem in India. It will be a major contribution to arts infrastructure and production facilities in the country and a cultural destination for both local and international visitors. I have had a great affinity to the ancient city of Hampi since I first visited in 1983 and am delighted to now be able connect contemporary art with heritage and nature. The project is also inspired by my mother Urmila Kanoria who founded one of the first residency programmes in India at the Kanoria Centre for Arts in Ahmedabad in 1984,” said Sangita Jindal.
Located near the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar and UNESCO World Heritage Site Hampi, the centre is founded on an ethos of building an interdisciplinary institution inspired by the ancient temple city where art, architecture, and literature flourished from the 14th to 16th centuries. Uniquely born of place where art, heritage and nature intermingle, Hampi Art Labs sits in a spectacular setting dominated by the river Tungabhadra, craggy hill ranges and intriguingly large boulders that dot the landscape.
“Hampi Art Labs is an inclusive artist-first centre that encourages a cross-disciplinary approach to art-making and driving engagement with the region’s heritage and artisanal legacy alongside India’s contemporary art scene. We are delighted to have collaborated with Sameep Padora, one of India’s most successful young architects, on the design for Hampi Art Labs. His poetic style of architecture reflects the spiritual energy Hampi is known for,” added Tarini Jindal Handa.
Designed by leading Mumbai-based architect and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture of CEPT University in Ahmedabad, Sameep Padora and his studio sP+a, the centre’s flowing design pays tribute to its natural surroundings through its organic forms and use of locally sourced materials such as soil, stone and steel.
Production facilities will include workshops for printmaking, stone and metal sculpture, ceramics, and new media. Here, artists can learn from the region’s richly replete craft culture and distinctive traditions and techniques. JSW Vijayanagar Works is the largest state-of-the-art single location steel manufacturing unit in India and its proximity to Hampi Art Labs also affords artists an unparalleled opportunity to work on a large scale and with specialised equipment.
Hampi Art Labs education programme offers initiatives engaging local community and international visitors with contemporary art in all its forms. Learning activities and workshops will be developed for schools in the area. The centre seeks to create cultural links across the Global South through its residencies, programming and collaborations with like-minded institutions and organisations.
Exhibition: Right Foot First
Hampi Art Labs opens with Right Foot First, an exhibition of works from the Jindal Collection from 1998 to 2023 including Andy Warhol, Annie Morris, Atul Dodiya, Ai Weiwei, Bharti Kher, B.V. Doshi, Dayanita Singh, Lubna Chowdhary, Manish Nai, Manu Parekh, Praneet Soi, Reena Saini Kallat, Rohini Devasher, Sayan Chanda, Sheba Chhacchi, Shilpa Gupta, Suhasini Kejriwal, Tushar Joag and Zarina Hashmi. The exhibition focuses on interdisciplinary connections between artists from across time periods and movements within art history. The exhibition not only showcases JSW group’s multidecade legacy of patronage but also highlights pivotal moments within Indian contemporary art over the past 25 years. In a nod to the poetically undulating architecture of the site, the exhibition is designed to allow visitors to move through the space akin to the flow of the river systems that surrounded the ancient city of Hampi. The flow reminds us that time, history and creative process are not linear.
Future exhibitions will be made up of new commissions and loans, conceptualised by guest curators in response to the centre and its surrounding area or in collaboration with residency alumni. The inaugural residency cycle welcomed Bhasha Chakrabarti, Sharbendu De, Madhavi Gore, Promiti Hossain and Anirudh Singh Shaktawat.