About Space 118

Founded in 2009, Space118 provides studios and residencies on a short-term basis (1 month) to artists as part of its commitment to supporting emerging art practitioners from all parts of the country and the world. We are looking at a diverse group of artists working in the studios to create a lively, supportive and dynamic working environment. We aim to foster the exchange of ideas and experiences amongst artists who work across different fields of art.

Located in the heart of industrial Bombay, in a warehousing compound, a 15 minute drive from Kala Ghoda and the art district in Colaba, artists have the freedom to experience the rich art and cultural scene on a daily basis. We encourage artists to have the freedom to develop their work at their own pace and interpret the studio term from their own perspective.





Q&A

Q.

Tell us about Space 118, how did that journey start?

A.

My journey started in 2009 when I was taken on a trip to Baroda to visit the faculty of Fine Arts at MSU (Maharaja Sayajirao University) and several other artists studios and residencies. On seeing this, I noticed the repetitive styles of several of the artists who were working there. When I came back to Bombay, I realised that there is a complete vacuum in the city, where there had not been any studio residency space since the Bhulabhai Studios in the 1950s. Anupa Mehta started the Loft at Lower Parel, but it was not a community studio, it was a single artist studio which culminated into a show. After the Bhulabhais, I was the first one who started community studios in 2009. It met with a lot of success and was very well received and that’s where my journey started. It first started with opening the studios, then we started giving residencies where artists could stay, we did workshops and had several open studio days, mentorship sessions etcI t was a lot of fun and there was a lot of programming that came around it.

Q.

Why is supporting emerging artists important to you?

A.

Supporting young emerging artists has always been important to me. I don’t think one can run a residency space without being passionate about young talent and the art world. The aim of Space 118 is to nurture the interdisciplinary impetus of global art practitioners, not just local, and to create workshops and residencies which can be used for experimentation, dialogue, collaboration as well as playful engagement. These opportunities that are provided to those who have limited access to such programs help in the enrichment of these artists and also gives them a voice which is outside their own studio practice in their own spaces. I personally feel that these support structures are very important for a contemplative study, research, independent practice, collaborative projects and most importantly networking with fellow artists enthusiasts and the art fraternity as a whole when they come to Bombay.

Q.

You are also an avid at collector. What attracts you to artworks you want to have in your collection?

A.

My journey in art collecting began much earlier than my journey as an art patron. I started collecting art almost 15 years ago, when I was merely 25 years old. It has been about 10 years since Space 118 started. I don’t think one can start collecting art without being passionate about what they buy. I started buying art from my own salary at a very young age without any initiation from my family or any member of my family involved in buying art. It was easy because there was no pressure, no one to tell me anything, it was my personal money so I could do what I liked with it, but at the same time it was a new journey where I wasn’t nurtured and I wasn’t taught anything about buying art. In a way it was a fresh slate, literally passion driven and has been since then. I’ve always been attracted to the artist behind the work, the artwork in itself, the subject, the theme, the composition. I look at my collection now more in terms of how I see it growing, not just with my personality, but also as a collection that is carefully put together with a thought process vis a vis just adhoc buying. I don’t like talking too much about it because I feel I’m too young and I’ve seen many mature collections and collectors who have collected not just with a passion which all of us do but also with a thought process and with a focus which is very important.

Q.

In retail we have witnessed a sharp surge in online sales, would you say that the art world is seeing an increase too in online sales, and who are the buyers?

A.

In India we have had an exceptional case with auction houses doing exceptionally well, particularly the ones who went online several years ago and were known as online auction houses and do not have physical sales. I’m not going to name them but everybody knows them. They already had the know-how, they could transfer easily and adapt to the new situation very easily. They have also been able to do additional webinars and other content creation activities to engage the audience in other than just buying art. Yes, I have always been a believer of online/digital sales, Covid or no Covid. I personally feel that if it is inexpensive art people are using to decorate their homes, sometimes all you need is just a video or a clear image of the artwork to make the purchase easier. This was the way of buying art even before Covid, so I don’t know what the hoo-ha is right now! Whereas infact after Covid even high value art is being sold at such crazy prices because people are doing zoom calls, Whatsapp video calls, they are also engaging with videos of the artworks and closeups versions to buy the artwork. I would never say that this should replace the 'real experience' of buying art and that this is the future and that physical galleries shouldn’t exist and that everything should be online but I definitely do believe that online sales is a way forward to acquiring what you want democratically, you do not have to be physically in the same city, I can acquire work from New York, London, Singapore, Delhi and or even buy purely seeing it online through a virtual show.

Q.

What do you think about this collaboration with Antidote. How do you feel your vision compares to that of Antidote and what do you hope to achieve with this collaboration?

A.

This is collaboration with Antidote or any agency that is futuristic, that believes in helping artists to grow, giving artists visibility beyond a gallery space is a venture I would actively engage with. I feel that many artists make fabulous works but are not getting representation by important galleries. Without the gallery structure, it is very difficult for the artist to directly sell. Agencies such as Antidote that support art and design are very important for artists who do not have representation -to give them a voice and a platform to be seen!

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About the collaboration

About Saloni Doshi, Director of Space 118.
Saloni Doshi (born 1979) is an art patron and collector of contemporary, tribal and aboriginal art from India and the Subcontinent. Saloni grew up in New Delhi where she went to school at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya. She graduated with a double honors degree in Politics and Economics at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Communications Media at the Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai. She later moved on to pursue her Master’s in Media and Communication at the London School of Economics, London. She also has a Diploma in Art Criticism and Theory (ACT) and Indian Art Aesthetics from Jnanapravaha, Mumbai.

In 2009, she decided to develop a part of her warehouse space in South Mumbai into Artist Studios and Residencies to give to the artists’ community something that was lacking and much required in the city – space. An avid reader and photographer, Saloni also wrote for the Arts and Culture pages of TOI. She was the Founder Chairperson of the Bombay Chapter of Young FICCI Ladies Organization (YFLO) and the is current Chairperson for the London School of Economics Alumni in Bombay. In 2016, Saloni was also awarded the prestigious ArtThinkSouthAsia (ATSA) Fellowship sponsored by Khoj, British Council and the Goethe Institute.