Please tell us about yourself
In 2014, Tarq opened its doors with one simple goal in mind: bridging the gap between young artists and young collectors. The 3000-square-feet multi-storeyed contemporary gallery is located in Dhanraj Mahal – the iconic Art Deco building built in the 1930s that once housed the British Navy during World War II. The name is Sanskrit for “discussion, abstract reasoning, logic and cause”. Today, Tarq has become a watering hole of sorts where artists, critics, collectors and enthusiasts engage and inspire. In an attempt to get behind the scenes of this gorgeous gallery, we get in conversation with Hena Kapadia – the young mastermind behind it all.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?
After majoring in Art History and Economics at Tufts University in Massachusetts, she completed her Master’s degree in Modern and Contemporary Art World Practice at Christie’s Education, University of Glasgow in London.
“Art has always been a part of my life,” Hena tells us. Her mother is an art historian and her grandparents have been collectors of Indian traditional, as well modern and contemporary art for decades. Was a career as a gallerist obvious, then? “I was never the type of person who could paint or create anything. Business administration and a little bit of writing were my fortes.” Hena found her calling during an internship at Sakshi Gallery. “This was when I realised that arts administration was where I wanted to be. So, I changed my majors to Art History and Economics in my undergraduate degree and then did a Masters in Modern & Contemporary Art World Practice at Christie’s – London. When I came back to India, I set up Tarq.”
What do you love about your work?
Hena is a self-confessed workaholic! What keeps her going? “For me and everyone at Tarq, it’s the artists who very much drive the processes. Everything we do is about them and their work,” she explains. Hena muses out loud about Tarq’s journey so far, “We’ve been working with so many young artists and collectors – young in terms of age as well as artistic journey. I started Tarq to expose Indian audiences to art they’ve not seen before and create room for engagement between the artist and the audience. And so far, that’s going really well.” Next week, Tarq will participate in Art Basel Hong Kong with drawings by Vishwa Shroff, something Hena is very excited about.
How does she unwind from such a gruelling schedule? “I don’t!”, she quips, “When I have to unwind, I just take a holiday and switch off completely. Relaxation doesn’t happen in Bombay.” And what about her skincare routine? “My only skincare routine is a Clinique face wash every night without fail. And for that healthy glow, nothing works better than a beach holiday!”
Your advice to students?
Lastly, as budding art collectors and enthusiasts ourselves, we ask Hena for an advice or two. She smiles, “Educate yourself by constantly engaging with artists and gallerists, every time you visit!” As for aspiring artists she shares, “Just do the work, be committed to your practice, and people will pay attention.”