People | The Art-o-logist

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The Art-o-logist
Text by Supriya Nair and Photograph by Uma Dhanwatey
Published: Volume 17, Issue 12, December, 2009

Curator Jasmine Shah Varma finds new ways to speak to the art market in undulating times

“Call it serendipity or wishing really hard,” says Jasmine Shah Varma of her vocation, “but I always wanted to be involved with the visual arts.” From a child who trailed after her elder sister to Baroda’s Fine Arts College, Jasmine grew up to be a features writer with an abiding interest and extensive experience in the art world. She was invited to curate an exhibition by Punita Thakker of Hacienda, Mumbai in 2004, landing what she calls her dream job. “I called my first show Still Waters Run Deep, which was relevant not just to the context of the show but also to me personally.” From there to the hugely successful Card-o-logy (September 2009) and a clutch of exciting upcoming projects, including Korean artist Kim Kyoungae’s solo show in Mumbai and the second edition of Card-o-logy, Jasmine has seen the art market fluctuate from the ‘herd mentality’ to thoughtful caution. Finally, she says, people are buying for the right reasons.

“I find it most challenging and fulfilling to showcase the works of artists who are under-exposed or haven’t shown their works at all. The joy is in looking for new perspectives and fresh approaches to visually expressing ideas about life and our times.”

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