Madhu Neotia is a well-known patron of contemporary art practices in India and has personally nurtured several initiatives led by some of the leading art & design practitioners of the country. She is currently Chairperson of Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, Jaipur, an institution of craft based design education in South East Asia. The sheer range of design talent and sensibilities that India has to offer is one of the main inspirations of The India Story, behind which she has been the prime moving force. Kolkata, where Madhu lives mostly, becomes the natural choice for her as a site for this showcasing, and she has admitted to being deeply involved in our inherited legacy of Indian design traditions, whether those of the traditional master craftsmen or contemporary interpretations by the newer generations of artists, designers and architects.
Abhilasha Sethia’s initiation into the world of gourmet food has been as a keeper of secrets of traditional Indian cuisine inherited from her mother. Her travels around the world deepened this engagement with the world of culinary affairs, both as a personal passion and a career, a luxury afforded by few and as she puts it, ‘Only as luck would have it.’ Her forays into gastronomy allowed Abhilasha to look at the palliative side of food, having co-authored a book titled 'Healthy Cooking for Patients with Kidney Ailments'. She is constantly looking for inspiration to channel her creative energies and possesses an equal zeal to share her experience as a global gourmet entrepreneur for her loved city. As part of that love affair with Kolkata she was also instrumental in bringing the erstwhile Smoke House Deli brand to the food connoisseurs of this city.
Swarup is a Fashion Design graduate, and have acquired a distinction in his Masters Degree in Fashion from the Nottingham Trent University, UK. Ever since his return to India, he has been actively involved in propagating indigenous art and craft practices.Swarup has worked as Dean Academics at Indian Institute of Crafts and Design and has served at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) as head of the Fashion & Textiles Design Department (Kolkata). Presently, as a conservation enthusiast, he has been actively involved in restoration of old non heritage tagged houses and appropriating them for suitable activities to save the visual vocabulary of old Kolkata.
As a Scenography, he has over the past few years, created events and site specific art & design installations in Kolkata, which have moulded the perception of public spaces in the city. The India Story: an annual exposition being hosted in Kolkata, which celebrates Indian art, design, crafts, music and culinary practices, was co-conceived by him. His desire to express himself has taken him to different mediums, from scenography to styling, graphics to interiors, crafts to clothes. But photography still remains his primary passion. His work has been showcased globally.
Swapan Seth began his career at 19, at JWT, Kolkata and won his first Cannes Award at the age of 22. At 24, he was the youngest Creative Director at Clarion. He started his own agency, Equus, when he was 28. Equal launched Max New York Life, Barista, Kingfisher Airlines, Harvest Gold Bread and Matrix. Currently, it works for Reliance Capital, Deutsche Bank, Taj Hotels, Coca Cola, Hindustan Times, Quest, Sleepwalk, to name just a few. Seth is one of largest private art collectors in the country and was instrumental in the creation of ‘Artiger’, India's only Government propelled art initiative involving tiger conservation and public art. In 2014, he was voted amongst Delhi's Most Stylish. A voracious reader, prolific writer, film enthusiast and music buff, Seth lives in Gurgaon with his wife, two sons and two dogs, Jagger and Wazza.
Shantanu Moitra is a National award winning Bollywood composer known for his unique melodies, having scored iconic films like Parineeta, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots, P.K and Pink. Aside from his passion for music, Shantanu also nurtures his interest in photography and travel. Currently, Shantanu is fulfilling his dream venture ‘100 Days in the Himalayas’. This campaign provides an insight into the cultural fabric of the Himalayan region through sound. With his love for nature and an open mind, Shantanu is determined to find the unheard melodies that echo through these magnificent mountains. Shantanu is committed to archiving and preservation of folk music in India and firmly believes that a great nation is measured by the welfare of its art and artists.
Kalli Purie is the Group Editorial Director (Broadcast & New Media) of the India Today Group. A graduate from Oxford University, UK in Politics, Philosophy & Economics, she is better recognized in the industry for her vision to synergise India Today Group’s excellence in conventional journalism with the reach and innovations of new media. A serial entrepreneur at heart, she brings a rich experience in running a wide range of media properties from television channels, apps, to a digital newspaper. In her current role, she is steering the editorial of India’s undisputed #1 news channel along with 3 others of the network. Armed with a clear vision about the future of news, she is a key member of the team that has built the architecture of a futuristic newsroom, a giant news turbine to harness the forces of an integrated newsroom, exploiting synergies amongst the many media platforms.
Sanjay Garg has been working with handloom sectors for over 7 years and is most known for giving unique identity to hand woven products, specially the transparent silks of Chanderi and recently his work with Banaras Brocades. Before founding Raw Mango he has worked for Shades of India for a few years followed by working for the cluster development programme in Madhya Pradesh undertaken by the Textile Ministry. Raw Mango is a brand of contemporary Indian hand woven textiles crafted using traditional techniques. In the seven years since its inception it has been working with the weavers of Chanderi, Varanasi, Bengal and also with the block printers of Akola, Rajasthan to develop unstitched products, and widening the scope of the Indian sari.
Architect Ashiesh Shah began his career in New York City in the mid 2000’s after graduating Parsons University with a degree in Interiors and Architecture. For the last eight years, Shah has been spearheading his own design firm Ashiesh Shah Architecture + Design. Named one of the top 50 architects in the country by Architectural Digest for three consecutive years, Ashiesh was also picked as one of the 20 people to watch out for by CNN GO. He has been published extensively in the New York Times, World of Interiors, International Herald Tribune, Wallpaper Magazine, Elle Decoration, Architectural Digest, Vogue, Casa Vogue, Elle, Condenast Traveller, Forbes, Outlook Business to name a few. Ashiesh considers himself an eclectic collector, whose taste spans centuries and continent. His keen interest in art often informs, inspires and nourishes his practice and perspective.
Founder and CEO of Only Much Louder (OML), Vijay Nair’s career started at the age of 15, when he worked closely with India’s youth targeting ventures such as Procter & Gamble’s web portal Masti.com, and the only bustling indie music webzine in the country back then, Gigpad.com. He dropped out of college at the age of 18 to start managing leading Indian indie bands including Pentagram, Zero, Pin Drop Violence, and others. This move led to the beginning of OML – India’s first artist management firm for Indian indie bands. In 2009, Nair won the British Council International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year award, becoming the first Indian to receive this honour. Leading publications from all across the country, including The Economic Times, Man’s World, India Today, CNN, The Telegraph, The Hindu, The Caravan, along with Indian think tank National Knowledge Commission, have distinguished him as one of the most promising young Indian entrepreneurs in the media and entertainment industry.
Priyanka Raja along with her husband Prateek, launched Experimenter in 2009 in Kolkata. With an ambitious and challenging multidisciplinary approach, Experimenter is an incubator for contemporary artists and mounts interactive installations, multiple channel work, live projects and political interventions that question the fraught and kinetic era we live in. Within a short span of time, Experimenter has garnered international critical acclaim and is looked upon as a pacesetter for contemporary practice from the region. Prior to Experimenter, Priyanka was India Media Manager at Proctor & Gamble. Priyanka holds an M.B.A from Lancaster University, U.K. and a Contemporary Asian Art degree from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London.
Anahita Kayan is the founder and creative director of The Space @ 9/2: A studio focusing on conceptual showcases and art direction for fashion, art and design. A trained economist, she has been fascinated with retail and creativity every since she was a child. At the ages of 24, Anahita hosted The Guerrilla Art project, Calcutta’s first outdoor graffiti exhibit and this set the tone for the works ahead. Every since, she has showcased for Shift, Misho Designs, Korra Jeans, Divya Sheth among many more. The aim is to enable visitors to question the norm and allow them to think beyond the obvious. Creating unique experiences is a part of the journey that she wishes to manifest through the work she creates and curates.
Born and raised in Jaipur into the illustrious 160 year old Gem Palace family, Neha Kasliwal Arya brings in an innate understanding and natural flair for design with an insider's viewpoint into the worlds of jewellery, fashion and aesthetics. Armed with technical knowledge and expertise through a specialisation in Applied Arts and an advanced degree from Parsons, New York, Neha got hands-on experience in design, fashion and entrepreneurship as she worked on the brand's permanent exhibit at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She also has the distinction of working closely with the late Oscar de la Renta. This work experience & active participation motivated her to launch her label 'ARTSEMBLE' that stands for classic timelessness and modern functionality in aesthetics.