"Art for me came from my paternal grandmother,” says Roshini Sanah Jaiswal, Promoter and Chief Restructuring Officer at Jagatjit Industries Ltd, one of the oldest distilleries manufacturing potable alcohol in the country. “In the 1950s, when people in India did not really turn towards art or thought it was cool, she started collecting it. Lakshman Pai, Satish Gujral, M.F. Husain, were her friends. She was part of that circuit, so the art collection began,” says Jaiswal. Her parents imbibed that collection and developed their own passion and taste in art. Having grown up surrounded with art, it was but natural for her to develop an interest in it. However, her taste in art is different from what her parents or grandmother loved. “The art I collect is different from the kind that my parents collect. I don’t really want to go after so many of the Indian masters. I like international art, whether it is from Brazil, the US or Iran. For me it is about exploring what appeals to me, which is different from what appealed to them.”
Jaiswal doesn’t have too many Indian masters. “I have a few Razas and Souzas but that’s because those particular pieces have really appealed to me. Else, I have completely forayed out of modern Indian contemporary art.”
Jaiswal picks up works of international artists from galleries in London and the US. She also takes out time to visit galleries and museums on her visits abroad. “I love to see how other countries look at art. And then, budget allowing, if I can, I pick up something from that country. I picked up two pieces of art from Vietnam a few years ago.”
Jaiswal is attracted to women empowerment as a theme and has works from different artists showcasing it. Shirin Neshat, an Iranian photographer living in New York, is one of her favourites. Another photographer whose works she likes is Alex Prager, an American.
“I buy a lot of artists who, though known globally, are not really known in India. So when my parents walk into my house, they are like ‘ok, this is different’,” laughs Jaiswal. “For me that’s the drive. The works speak to me. It’s sheer love. It could be any medium, including photography,” she says, adding that price is not a determining factor. “Something could be just $500 and I could really love it.”
For Jaiswal, art is not an investment. “It’s hanging on my walls, I better love it,” she says empathetically. “A lot of people look at art from an appreciation point of view. I buy it for whatever meaning it has for me. Not because it is going to increase in price at some point of time.”
Among the Indian artists, she has works from Dayanita Singh, Himmat Shah, L.N. Latur and A. Balasubramaniam.
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