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2017/11- Looking for treasures in every corner – DNA

Around the time Rudhra Kapur was looking at holding the first exhibition at his newly-launched concept lifestyle store, Treasures of India, he came across an interesting article in a newspaper about the legendary Spanish artist Salvador Dali. “Dali had an affinity with Air India and was madly inspired by the Indian elephant. He gifted them some of his works, and they gifted him an elephant in exchange,” he recounts.


Stories abound


For Kapur to run a gallery called Treasures of India, this was a story he could not ignore. “I have no nationality criteria when it comes to the arts. The only criteria that is important to me is that it has roots in India. To me, just the simple fact that he had this affiliation with the country, is a big thing,” he says. The opening exposition for the inauguration has been coordinated with arts dealer cum gallerist Diego Alonsio, who is of Argentinean origin and married and settled in Spain. Dali’s works comprised seven paintings which are available for viewing at the second mezzanine level of the store from till November 28.


“Next, I’m looking at the possibility of co-ordinating a photoshoot with an Indo-French photographer who was born in India and raised in North coast of France. He came back to India about a year to try and found them in Haryana. The concept is to do the shoot with two beautiful models — one of them being my cousin, Shivani Kapoor, who is a well-known face, and who was not on the radar for a few years. The boy is Indo-Greek and is called Shiva. Their names — Shiva and Shivani — got us thinking and that would be the theme of the shoot. So everything here has to have a story behind it, only then it has value,” he adds.


Realising a dream


The ‘Burlington Baby’, Rudhra Kapur, hails from the first family of the store that was commonly referred to as ‘The Selfridges of the East’, and for whom, Treasures of India is a dream project. The concept lifestyle store, was in fact, his late mother, Gabrielle Cerfontaine Kapur’s idea. “My mother wanted to bring under one roof a unification of the Indian artisans, presented in a fashionable way, to a rather large audience,” says Rudhra.


Fifty years later, her dream has been realised in the form of this gallery, the principle behind which, as Rudhra tells us, is to present any form of art that stands up to a certain standard. And what does he bring to the table? “Today, we live in 2017. Lifestyles and fashion are no longer what they used to be in the ’60s. Now people prefer clean, minimalist homes with a few beautiful objects that can be appreciated. I feel what I have achieved is bringing these traditional beautiful objects to a contemporary background and a current modern trend. If this gallery was designed in any other way, it would look like a bazaar. That’s an achievement I feel I have made with the structure of the gallery. Everything you see in this gallery, down to the manager’s writing table and the sofa we are sitting on, is actually a product and has a tag,” he says.


Art galore


A custom tailoring workshop (what with owner Rudhra Kapur having suited ex-American Presidents, Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton to name a few) is housed on the first-floor mezzanine terrace of the gallery, while the second mezzanine terrace of the store will host the arts gallery where they will run multiple exhibitions on a regular basis of different artists, painters, photographers, sculptors and heritage expositions throughout the year.


Various forms of art from fashion for men, women and children, yoga-wear, home furnishings, swimwear, jewellery and accessories, antiques, miniature paintings, art and more finds its place here. “You can come here, we can do fashion, decorate a guest room, frame your paintings, do your lampshades, do your curtains, upholster your sofa,” Rudhra trails off. What can you not do? “Chemicals and polysters!” he laughs.


The Salvador Dali exposition is on till November 28.