In another bid to revive India’s fading cultural sphere the Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) multi-arts centre was established in 1991 at Jaipur, Rajasthan, to restore various forms of Rajasthani arts. The centre was designed by the renowned Indian architect Charles Correa and embodies both the visual and cultural heritage of Jaipur. It took five years for the splendid building to come to fruition and the centre was put to good use for a few years before falling into a dilapidated state. That is until 2015, when Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje took the initiative to revive the culture and tourism in Rajasthan and under the direction of Pooja Sood, Jawahar Kala Kendra underwent a major renovation.
The most unique aspect of the centre lies in its conceptual architecture, which is based on the tenets of Indian astrology and reminiscent of Jaipur’s square-grid plan. Designed according to the theme of the nine planets, each section of the building resembles the characteristics of the corresponding planet. The library, for instance, is located in the Jupiter section; the planet attributed to knowledge and wisdom.
Apart from the architecture itself, murals from Jain mythology, charts and paintings on the ceiling of the central dome add to the exceptional nature of the building. These paintings have also been retouched as part of the refurbishment. There was also an improvement in its accessibility and is now completely friendly for their differently-abled patrons. The library too has been upgraded, with a junior reading room for children and enhanced sound systems in all the auditoriums.
The galleries reopened in January with astounding new shows and a retrospective exhibition of Ebrahim Alkazi’s theatre work, curated by Amal Allana and designed by Nissar Allana. The revamped Arts Centre has been envisioned as space where museum-quality exhibitions, ranging across genres from new media, popular culture and photography to architecture, painting and design will be held. They aim to attract audiences from India and abroad as its reputation grows, in the hope that a little bit of exposure will go a long way.