Book Launch of The Fantasy Collection
Date: 17th November
Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm
The Fantasy Collection takes its name from an important group of drawings and design objects produced by a young M.F. Husain whilst working for the Bombay-based nursery furniture company Fantasy, during the 1940s. The company was a pioneer in providing children with beautifully designed spaces that afforded Husain an outlet for his irrepressible creative genius. The book traces Husain’s fascinating development of an aesthetic steeped in village Indian life, an aesthetic which would prove to be so integral to his later career. With designs conceived at the cusp of India’s independence, this is as much a story of the birth of a nation as it is the birth of an artist.
The lavishly illustrated book includes essays by Girish Shahane, Olga Kanzaki Souudi and Mortimer Chatterjee as well as shorter texts by a range of voices connected to the collection. Supporting images, tracing two thousand years of art history, have been drawn from the personal collection of Minal and Dinesh Vazirani, and include many important examples produced by Husain’s own contemporaries.
The Fantasy Collection is an important addition to our understanding of art and design practices around the time of independence, as well as their influence on later trends.
About the Speakers
Mortimer Chatterjee along with his wife, Tara Lal, co-founded Chatterjee & Lal as well as 47-A, a design gallery. Based in Mumbai, the galleries are focused on contemporary and historical material; the founders also consult for major corporate collections, including the Taj Group of Hotels. Chatterjee has authored and co-authored several publications including a publication on the art collection of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) (along with curating an exhibition of that collection at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai). He is editor of an evolving series of publications on disciplines across the arts spectrum, the first of which was focused on modern Indian art.
Girish Shahane is an independent writer and curator. He has degrees in English literature from Elphinstone College, Bombay University, and Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He was editor and later consulting editor of Art India magazine. He has been a columnist for Time Out magazine, DNA newspaper Yahoo India, Scroll.in and Mint Lounge. He was Director of the Skoda Prize for Indian Contemporary Art from 2011 to 2014, Artistic Director of Art Chennai 2014, and Artistic Director of the India Art Fair 2015.
Recent shows curated by him include Conjunction of the Spheres, Delhi, September 2023 and Magic Markers, Delhi, October 2023.
Minal Vazirani co-founded Saffronart, a leading auction house based around the world and the Saffronart Foundation, which uses art as an enabler to raise awareness about key social issues, support community outreach, and contribute to the development of south Asian visual art. She chairs the India Committee for Women to Watch, 2024, an exhibition developed by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), Washington, D.C. Vazirani is also on the acquisitions committee at the Tate Modern, UK. In 2005, she led a review of Saffronart’s business when the Harvard Business School published a case study on the company. Vazirani received her MBA from INSEAD in France, where she received the Sasakawa Fellowship, and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with an additional focus on Art History and Indian History from the University of California, Los Angeles
Dinesh Vazirani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Saffronart, the world’s leading auction house for Indian art. Dinesh completed both his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and his Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University. In 1994, he received an MBA degree with Honours from the Harvard Business School. Dinesh’s alma mater, the Harvard Business School, published a case study on Saffronart that continues to be studied by MBA students there today. Dinesh has held several leadership positions in the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). He was Chapter Chair of YPO’s Bombay Chapter and serves on the boards of several companies in India. He has been collecting and promoting Indian art for the last twenty years, and is a frequent speaker and leading industry expert.