With a paintbrush dipped in philanthropy, a camera pointed at the cultural and architectural landscapes of destinations, and an eye on the lookout for emerging artists, Shalini Passi is a trendsetter in India’s art ecosystem. By Bayar Jain
Some paint for pleasure, others for perspective. Art connoisseur Shalini Passi does both. “During my childhood, I was blessed to be introduced to museums and galleries across various cultures, which helped me cultivate my relationship with art,” reveals the Delhi-based art collector.
In 2018, this long-standing patron of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale took her love for art a notch higher by founding a non-profit organisation, Shalini Passi Art Foundation. With this, she aims to create an intellectual platform by supporting, educating, and encouraging experimental new practices in the art world— including art, craft, design, architecture, and fashion. The philanthropist’s platform has undertaken many initiatives such as organising talks and performances at India Art Fair 2019, launching books and discussions at Venice Biennale, conducting curator-led walkthroughs, and addressing audiences at the GAAB Collectors Summit 2019.
Passi’s own art stems from her personal perspective. “I strive for my work to be contextual and relevant. I am naturally drawn to great craftsmanship, which is why I try to make sure my works are technically sound,” Passi explains. On her travels, she finds creative expression in architecture photography. “In the last two years, I have travelled within the country exploring various cultures and monumental heritage from Leh to Puducherry. I have photographed monuments and locals within these architectural spaces— and interacted with them to add more context to my work,” she elucidates. Her black and-white photo series in the recent online exhibition, Forever Delhi, is a case in point. For this project, Passi pledged to donate all the proceeds to Goonj and Meherban India Foundation. Our A-List 2022 canvas will feature ample strokes of inspiration with Passi holding the pen.