Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC): An Ode to the Nation and Art
“As someone so deeply touched by the arts, it has been my greatest honor to have worked with artists and craftspeople for a long time through our Reliance Foundation. I have seen first-hand the magical transformation that art makes possible. It gives hope, creates solidarity, nurtures imagination, and embraces divergence.” – Nita M Ambani, Founder & Chairperson, NMACC
This quote is rather a beautiful summary of what art means for different people. For some, it is a means of living, for some, it is a source to earn their means of living, for some it is an espace from reality, for some, it is a succor or anchorage. All in all, art has different forms and so are the ways to accept, embrace and nurture it.
A long-standing topic of debate has been “Is Art for Everyone?”. Beginning from the British Romantic era of Wordsworth to the Dalit Pather Movement of India, art has tried to make itself available for all. The question then remains, what made the privileged ones claim art to belong to them exclusively and not to the commoners? What was there in art which was so special that only the privileged ones could have access to it, reproducing it and most essentially not circulating it. The one aspect which made art available to all was the invention of printing. Mass production leads to the reduced cost price of the artwork and hence, in the reach of all.
You might be wondering why are we discussing the ancient debate when we already have the answer. At least Varnan believes that Art should be for all. Each and every one of us who believes the same tries to make art available to all through some or the other means. Be it as small a gesture as informing someone like-minded about a certain play being performed to such a grand gesture as Mrs. Nita Ambani as inaugurating the NMACC.
Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre: An Ode to the Nation?
On March 31, 2023, all of a sudden our social media channels were flooded with the news of NMACC’s inauguration gala event. It created a lot of buzz in the media. Oh, how glad we would have been if it were because of the just reasons but the media has a different side to portray altogether. All the national and international celebrities who attended the grand opening, the prasad which was being served to the members, etc. made the headlines, but did somebody talk about the momentous dream project, the spaces, the vision, the contribution towards the nation and moreover, the future impact a space like NMACC will have? Well, why is V here for? Let’s get started then.
The Founder and Chairperson of NMACC, Mrs. Nita M Ambani’s an intimate connection with the classical art form of Bharatnatyam from a very young age has been the cornerstone of NMACC. In her vision note, she mentions that the art form is her connection with the Divine. Having known the sacred art form and how it shapes the persona of people associated with it, and also the strong urge for the preservation and growth of the vulnerable art forms, NMACC was developed.
Modern Lens for the Traditional Art Forms
The Spaces housed by the NMACC like the Grand Theatre, The Cube, or the Studio Theatre, all have a specific purpose to cater to but with a common element, i.e., the robust infrastructure with the technological aid. It isn’t that there aren’t modern-day proscenium theatres available in India, but something as magnificent as the Grand Theatre was never conceptualized. The translation aid or the projection and recording facility available in each of the theatres is a well-thought-through project.
Having a common, world-class platform made available for the local, national as well the global artists to showcase their talent and educate the world people about it and having such a platform in India, is a matter of honor for the Indian citizens.
What Does the Future of Art Looks Like?
The much-needed all-inclusive space both for the artists and the audience has come to a realization in the form of NMACC. A place for young talents to grow and experiment in the field of art, the audience to get immersed in close association with the artists, watch live performances in a world-class theatre, the forgotten artworks being represented in the Art Gallery for the audience to take pride in, all of it is envisioned and beautifully curated in the NMACC.
Although the inception of NMACC has launched the importance of art and culture of India at a global level, the contributions of small-scale business houses and NGOs is praiseworthy. Here is a list of some of them:
- Asha Handicrafts Association: It’s an amazing organization that helps Indian artisans sell their beautiful handicrafts in the global market, all while preserving the unique art and craft of India. They work with fair trade importers to offer a wide range of products, including lifestyle accessories, home décor, office stationery, corporate gifts, and even toys and games! All of their products are made with love using traditional materials like wood, textiles, and ceramics, so they truly reflect the authentic design, style, and colors of India’s rich heritage. And it’s not just about selling products – Asha Handicraft Association is also committed to helping the artisan communities improve their skills through regular capacity building and training workshops. It’s such an inspiring and impactful organization!
- Development Commissioner (Handicrafts): It’s a government agency in India that falls under the Ministry of Textiles. Their main goal is to promote, develop, and export handicrafts made by artisans from different clusters across the country. The agency offers both technical and financial support to craftsmen, to help them overcome economic and social challenges while uplifting the overall handicraft sector in India. They’ve even set up field units and regional offices across the country, in cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Lucknow, New Delhi, and Guwahati. It’s great to see the government taking such an active role in supporting the growth and development of India’s rich handicraft heritage!
- The India Craft House – it’s a social enterprise that focuses on creating a platform to support Indian artisans. Unlike some other companies, they follow an inventory-based model, which means they purchase products directly from the craftsmen themselves rather than functioning as a marketplace. And if you’re looking for personalized artistic products for corporate gifting, weddings, or home decor, you can find it all on their online website. They ship their beautiful products all around the world, so you can bring a little piece of Indian craftsmanship into your home no matter where you are.
- Tjori: It’s a really cool clothing brand that specializes in fusion-based fashion. What’s even cooler is that they use ethical and authentic raw materials, which they source directly from weavers. Tjori is all about improving and preserving India’s traditional lifestyle, so they’ve collaborated with suppliers, manufacturers, craftsmen, and artisans who share their vision. Plus, they’re super committed to introducing sustainable and environmentally friendly items.
The Other Side of the Coin
While the vision definitely talks about how NMACC is an ode to the nation and the concretization of the long-standing commitment to art, the fact that this space is coming from an extremely elite position, can’t be ignored. Whether the local, underprivileged artists will be given their due or whether they themselves will be comfortable performing on the stage, whether they’ll be recognized or only the top-tier artists’ access is definitive to NMACC will be a test of time.
Yet, at Varnan, we firmly believe that a cultural center like NMACC would not only act as a badge of pride for India but also will empower the national and local artists to make their art form known to the entire world. Having access to NMACC would automatically bring traction and media coverage, not just in India but on an International front.
Moreover, coming from an artist herself, we believe that Mrs. Nita M Ambani would prove her mettle to her vision by preserving and promoting Indian art forms and making the same available to people.
“An ode to our nation, the NMACC is our commitment to preserve and promote Indian arts. I hope our spaces nurture and inspire talent, bringing people together from across India and the world. I look forward to seeing you at the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre. And I hope that you make memories of a lifetime when you visit!”- Nita M Ambani, Founder & Chairperson, NMACC