Hena Kapadia is founder and director of TARQ, a contemporary art gallery in Mumbai. Since opening her gallery she has been focused on exhibiting and engaging with art that is both, process driven and thought provoking. A key interest of her practice is to maintain close relationships with both artists and patrons, and to encourage thoughtful acquisitions of art.
"The voice of TARQ has grown stronger, it's heartening to see the increased engagement we have for all our programming"
You might have met Hena at Art Bites #2 where she had a conversation with Vishwa Shroff and Katsushi Goto. We catch up with Hena to learn more about her journey as a gallerist and how she uses art to engage with the world.
You use TARQ as a vehicle to explore art but also as a way to build community through events like MGW and Art Walks, can you tell us more about why you've done this?
When I opened TARQ in 2014, the idea was to have a warm, welcoming space, where younger collectors could support the artistic practices of artists from their own generation. The intention from day one, has been to drive more and more audiences to the gallery, not only to see the exhibitions, but to engage meaningfully with the works on display. We achieve this through our own film screenings, talks and workshops, and also by collaborating closely with people and organisations who are working hard to bring newer audiences into galleries such as MGW, Carpe Arte and Artwalks Mumbai to name a few.
You also maintain strong relationships with the artists you work with, how do you choose pieces and artists that you want to be associated with?
More than pieces, we carefully choose which artists to work with, based entirely on their practices. When I say practice, I mean not only the method that the artist uses to make the works, but also their motivations behind making, and the research and work that goes into every piece of work they make.
How has the voice and content of art changed over the past six years, from when you founded TARQ till today?
I think (and obviously this is entirely biased) the gallery and our artists have only grown from strength to strength over the last six years. As we begin to do second and third solo shows with artists who we showed in our few first years, it's really exciting to see how their practices have evolved and grown since. I think also the voice of TARQ has grown stronger, it's heartening to see the increased engagement we have for all our programming.
How has the rise of social media worked for or against artists today?
In a post pandemic world, social media is key for artists to reach their audiences. I think that it's a vital tool to communicate.
What is the best way for someone to view and appreciate a piece of art?
Go look at it! If possible, talk to the gallerist, or to the artist directly, understand what it's about, and how and why it was made.
What are trends that you've seen in the Indian market in terms of buying and collecting art? How do you predict these will change in the next few months?
I think predictions at this point are near impossible, but one hopes that we see our collectors continuing to support art, and artists.
Before you go...
What is the first thing that catches your eye about a piece of art?
It's physical presence in a space.
If you could have dinner with any three artists, who would they be?
So so many on this list - it's impossible to narrow it down.
Where you wish your next meal could be?
Today I would just be thrilled to eat at my favourite restaurants in Bombay.
A piece of art that changed your view of the world and how?
More than a single work of art, it was the Mrinalini Mukherjee retrospective held at the NGMA in New Delhi in 2015.
If you didn't own a gallery, what would you be doing?
I can't imagine not running the gallery - but I'd probably be a lawyer.