Pune gets a new arts, culture and performance space

Pune: Whether it’s theatre, art, music or other performing arts, Pune is indisputably a hive of activity. With a view to provide a fluid culture space for artists, well-known television and theatre actor Sakhi Gokhale will don the curator’s hat for Aayaam, a concept alternative arts venue, located off Jungli Maharaj road.

Aayaam is set to open doors to the city’s art and culture aficionados on January 5. The 1,600 sq ft space is the brainchild of city-based entrepreneurs Sayalee Marathe and Jaydeep Hingne, who are the founders of the jewellery and fashion brand “House of Aadyaa”.

Aayaam is a Sanskrit word, which means dimension. Sakhi, creative director and chief curator of Aayaam, said, “The mission of Aayaam is to celebrate the artists of today and invest in those of tomorrow. We have kept the space fluid, so it can be home to exhibitions of homegrown artists, craftsmen from different regions across India, theatre circuits, trunk shows, and book readings, and so on. We also have a well-equipped set-up of projectors and sound systems to enable film screenings.”

According to Sakhi, though Pune is replete with small art venues, there is a dearth of places with a “premium” element, located in the heart of the city. For her, a place like Aayaam was missing in the vast culture-scape of Pune. “This city needed a culture centre that was state-of-the-art, and yet accessible in terms of affordability and mobility. Aayaam fits this bill perfectly,” she said.

Sakhi has completed her post-graduation studies in curation of contemporary art from London’s Royal College of Art. Ask her about how she plans to juggle between acting and art curation, she said, “I always wanted to study and pursue art curation. That was always my primary goal. However, I am equally passionate about acting. So, I will now devote equal amounts of time for both these careers. Definitely, I would now have to make some critical time management efforts.”

Aayaam’s inaugural event would be a 26-day art exhibition (January 5-30) titled “Nayika”, which will showcase artworks, artisanal crafts and jewellery created by renowned artist Shubha Gokhale.

“Through ‘Nayika’ we take a closer look at Gokhale’s perspective of women and their various environments. The show will feature some handpicked art from four of her prominent series, Dehaspanda, Padmini, Meera, and Matsyagandha,” said Sakhi.

Looking ahead, a range of high-end retail exhibitions, intimate theatre performances, and film festivals are lined up at Aayaam.

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