Ever since its inception, the Indian Habitat Centre, which is situated in the heart of New Delhi, has made its presence felt. In the last couple of years it has become the centre of contemporary cultural, economic, business and social events. The concern for the habitat and its environment works as the backbone of this pulsating complex.
The large, almost 5000 square feet of space, which presently works as an art exhibition space with its adjoining sculptural park has vast and unlimited potential for developing as a public playground and presenting new and challenging work across the arts and for forging an innovative way of thinking about culture.
With globalization and the breaking down of national identities, there is also a deepening of national and indigenous cultures and traditions. In India, the contemporary and the traditional exist side-by-side defying the post modern labelling which is so much part of Western ideology. Modern India is truly multi-layered and multi-cultural and is symbolic of the holistic approach towards learning which is now entering the rarefied portals of academia in the West.
The exhibition space at the Habitat Centre has for the last couple of years started holding regular exhibitions of works of artists that come under the genre of high art. This is very much part of the modern traditions of displaying art. As we move into the 21st century, there is a need for developing a new critical vocabulary and the large exhibition space can fill this void by creating a much needed Centre of the Visual Arts.
The Habitat Visual Arts Centre (HVAC) will cross-reference the plastic and the performing arts and provides the ideal platform to bridge the gap. With the integration of different art forms and a movement towards a multi-disciplinary approach towards the understanding and dissemination of art, the India Habitat Centre could once again become a pioneer in injecting a much needed trajectory. The exhibition space at the Habitat Centre will not only showcase works of well-known artists but will also provide a platform for the artist in the making, whereby the accent will be more on the process of work rather than the work itself.
The National Museum is a site of archaeological finds, the Crafts Museum is restricted to the craft tradition and the National Gallery of Modern Art confines itself to the holding of art exhibitions. What the Habitat Visual Arts Centre would do is that it would not only hold regular art exhibitions which would be professionally curated but would also work in a more subliminal manner by ensuring that each art exhibition would have a set of related activities, which would enhance and explore the art medium on display. The exhibition space, instead of being a static art gallery would be turned into a dynamic and interactive space, where the viewer and the artist would be in constant dialogue and movement. The exhibition space could also be utilized for holding regular talks, seminars, dance & music performances, videos, site-specific installations and informal discussions where the gap between the artist and the viewer could become more proactive. The seeds of creative thought processes and development of a new trajectory could be sown right in the midst of the Habitat Centre. The Habitat Visual Arts Centre could be the springboard for the much needed dissemination of high art and the cultural translations of popular art.