Dwija Art Gallery is Bengaluru’s newest address for beauty

Bengaluru’s artistic landscape has been enriched with a new destination for beauty and culture, the Dwija Art Gallery, which threw open its doors on the second day of February. Dwija stands as a testament to art’s enduring presence in the city, housed in a stunning 128-year-old bungalow that radiates architectural splendor, further enhancing the diverse works of art it encloses. The gallery emerges from a collaborative effort between the Dwija Conservation Society of Art and Cultural Heritage, boasting an impressive three-decade legacy in art conservation and restoration, and Grafiprint Private Limited.

The inaugural exhibit, titled “Sentient,” is a marvel for the eyes, featuring an array of works by 10 different artists hailing from all corners of India. The executive curator, Ayushi, holds the venue itself in high regard, remarking on the rich history and the captivating stories the space brings to the art it showcases. This dialogue between the artwork and its home adds a dynamic layer to the viewing experience.

Visitors to Dwija are greeted by the delicate dance of sunlight on its facade and the understated, yet inviting landscaping. Stepping inside, they are met with the luxury of space, accentuated by soaring ceilings and an environment thoughtfully curated to keep the focus on the artistry on display. The gallery embodies the principle that “less is more,” providing a tranquil atmosphere that allows the artwork to truly shine.

Local denizens who remember the bungalow from bygone days would be pleased to see that its essential charm has been preserved. The tiled roofing, replete with slots to let in sunbeams and finished with rich teak and rosewood, are a rare sight in modern Bengaluru and lend an air of historical reverence to the space.

The executive curator shares future aspirations for Dwija, expressing a desire to host a spectrum of artistic and cultural events, including musical and theatrical performances. This strategy underscores Dwija’s ambitions to become an inclusive and dynamic cultural hub.

Within the gallery, three expansive rooms unfold into a lengthy hall, graced by a skylight that bathes the expanse in natural light. The gallery’s past as a printing press is palpably present; cloth-bound volumes, antique shelving, and a medley of sepia-toned photos and comic books from the ’90s contribute to the charm of the reading room and library. An attic room, boasting a romantic dormer window, has been repurposed into a serene artist’s studio.

Dwija Gallery is deeply committed to fostering academic partnerships in the realms of art and culture, and the space is open for artists and curators to rent for their own exhibitions, says Ayushi. The task of selecting artists for the opening show was taken seriously by Girish Koti, the gallery’s executive director, and Ayushi, with a particular focus on presenting a blend of well-known Bengaluru artists such as Appajaiah KS, Devaraj B, and Giridhar Khasnis, alongside other talents from across the country.

“Sentient” features artists Amal Dev, Amrita Varma, Dileep, Milind Limbekar, Pradiptaa Chakraborty, Raja Boro, and Ram Kumar Manaa. Their collective works epitomize Dwija’s dedication to a broad, inclusive celebration of artistic expression. Ayushi emphasizes that showing fresh and unexhibited works was a central vision, bringing something novel to the Bengaluru audience.

The art on display is diverse, including paintings, sculptures, graphics, and installations that traverse multiple media, genres, and styles. The stories told through these visual narratives range from the timeless stillness captured in Giridhar Khasnis’ black-and-white photographs, the meticulous detail found in Raja Boro’s woodcut prints, to the stark questions posed by the works of Appajaiah KS. It’s a tapestry of artistic sensations, inviting viewers to engage, think, and ponder.

Located at 97 Residency Road, Dwija Art Gallery extends an invitation to the public to immerse themselves in “Sentient” until February 29, with the exception of Tuesdays. For further information, art enthusiasts are encouraged to follow @dwijaartgallery on Instagram.

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