New Delhi, March 23 (IANSlife): For decades, Mahinder and Sharad Tak’s sprawling home in Bethesda, near Washington DC, has attracted some of the country’s best-known social, cultural and political figures. For nearly half a century, the couple have been instrumental in building strong bridges between South Asia and North America by organizing art exhibitions, musical performances, mushairas or traditional poetry recitals, school tours and even major cultural and political fundraisers.
Mahinder was born in Kashmir and raised in the foothills of the Himalayas, surrounded not only by lush nature, but also by rich traditions of art, poetry, music and drama. She remembers going to the museum on the banks of the Jhelum River in Srinagar with her siblings and her grandfather, a specialist in Urdu and Persian poetry, to see the collection of miniature paintings. She chose medicine as a career, but her interest and appreciation for the arts remained a constant in her life.
Mahinder visited art galleries on his annual trips to India, always buying a piece or two for his home. However, it was not until a few years later, in the early 1980s, when she met artist Maqbool Fida Husain during one of her trips to the United States, that her interest turned into a passion and that she begins to seriously collect Indian art. Husain introduced Mahinder to several Indian artists and gallery owners, as well as the only major collectors of South Asian art in America at the time, Chester and Davida Herwitz.
In the decades that followed, Mahinder visited artists’ studios and exhibitions during his travels in Delhi, expanding his network of artists and forming lifelong friendships. She was one of the first to support several artists including Husain, Manjit Bawa, Jagdish Swaminathan, Sayed Haider Raza, Gulam Rasool Santosh and others who frequently reserved the best works for her in their shows. However, it was through the Herwitzs that Mahinder realized how art and its growing collection could become a language of cross-cultural understanding.
Several artist, poet and musician friends of the Tak family stopped by as the walls of the Tak household began to fill with an incredible variety of South Asian art. Many would stay with the Tak family, showing off or performing in their home. Husain, Manjit Bawa, Krishen Khanna, Arpita and Paramjit Singh, Arpana Caur and Natvar Bhavsar, to name a few, have held exhibitions and events at Taks, which has helped them to develop their knowledge bases considerably. collectors. Arts and Antiques magazine named the couple one of the nation’s top 100 collectors in 2006.
Mahinder noted, “I had an immense pleasure getting to know the greatest Indian and East Asian artists, including musicians and writers, and made a number of fulfilling friendships through this shared love of art. Art for me is very human; like my other profession – medicine – it touches people and fills many gaps […] But above all, collecting art allowed me to keep my Indian identity at home in America. My goal is to pass on this rich heritage to our future generation of American Indians in the United States.”
Lights of the National Capital Region’s cultural landscape, the Taks have actively fostered the South Asian arts and music scene there, supporting artists who have achieved international acclaim and brought new attention to contemporary South Asian culture. We are honored to present in this catalog a significant selection of works from the Mahinder and Sharad Tak collection, as well as to highlight the many ways in which this visionary couple have supported, mentored and inspired generations of artists and collectors in our field. .