THE AMOL VADEHRA ART GRANT
FICA instituted The Amol Vadehra Art Grant in 2015, which unlike our other grants where the recipient is chosen via applications, is a nominated award. The awardee is selected via a pool of nominations received from invited members of the art community. Nominees are expected to make a formal proposal to FICA about a work or body of works they wish to produce. The Grant is a production grant and aimed at supporting an Indian artist under the age of 40 years to develop a body of works. The grant amount of Rs. 2 lakhs is for the period of one year. The funds can be used to cover the artist’s direct costs towards creative development and production of a body of artworks.
Amol will be remembered for many things by many people but what everyone will remember him as is as a connoisseur of all things beautiful. He possessed this rare ability to pick out the finest art or the coolest trends, a true aesthete whose taste was timeless. Born on the 16th of January, 1978, he did his schooling at St. Columbus in Delhi before going to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With a childhood spent at the altar of Madonna and Michael Jackson, admiring the glamorous designs of Versace, and the bold modernism of M.F.Husain, Amol’s passion defined him in many ways. Even as a young boy he was clear about what he loved, and persuaded his parents to help him start his collection by buying artworks for his birthdays. He would spend hours studying M.F. Husain’s works, who remained his all time favourite artist.
His uncle and gallerist, Arun Vadehra, remembers the time he befriended M F Husain. “He got it into his head that he wanted to meet Husain and would pester me about this every day when I came home. So one day I told him I would make the introductions and asked him to come to the gallery straight from school. He arrived and within minutes had Husain making a drawing for him. He then inspected the work of art and asked Husain for a ‘better’ work! He could say things like this and get away with it. Husain was most amused to be ordered around by a 12 year old and complied most willingly.” He had this charming confidence that let him make friends with the most likely and unlikely people.
He was a people’s person at heart, and this combined with his genuine interest for art this made him the best ambassador for art. Few people realise how much Amol contributed to Indian art, sharing his passion with friends and collectors he met in Delhi, London and New York. Collector Rajiv Savara remembers how in 1999 he went to buy furniture in Delhi and met a young man who inspired him to buy his first two Husains! That you ng man was Amol Vadehra. He had this natural ability to understand the workings behind the creation of beauty, and he generously shared this part of him with everyone.
Artist Atul Dodiya remembers him fondly,”Amol was anmol, very special, full of joy and laughter. I remember him in the gallery, mischievous and yet walking about with a serious intention. He was a frank, open person, never hesitating to share opinions. A bold, passionate collector with an eye for unusual works of Art – he will be missed!.” Similarly he was deeply immersed in the fashion scene and had a wide circle of friends who shared their common love for fashion.
Designer, gallerist and close friend Rohit Gandhi shares his memories, “Amol was not only one of my closest friends but was a younger brother to me . We shared common passions, interests and a sense of humor. Fashion and art obsessed us equally . I will always miss my friend.” Amol’s untimely demise has not only left his family and friends in grief and shock but has robbed the In dian cultural scene of one of its key emissaries.
The FICA team pays homage to our young friend with an award instituted in his memory, to continue supporting artists with the same love and enthusiasm Amol had for them.