In this column, we speak to people from different walks of life about the objects in their homes they truly love
Sridhar Poddar has always had an interest in the Arts, his degree in literature and his personal collection of some of the most eclectic pieces are a testament to that. But as tends to happen with these things often, his journey to his final destination as a curator today was a bit convoluted. Going from working in tech in the US to then his family business in India, Sridhar found his first steps towards his calling while on a work trip to South Africa. “I met a collector because I wanted to acquire some pieces for my personal collection, but the conversation with him planted a seed of an idea that is now Evoke.”
It led to the launch of Evoke London, which exhibits and retails commissioned pieces showcasing the arts and crafts of different parts of Africa and India. In fact, Sonam Kapoor has been one of their early buyers, with a piece in her London home she shares with her husband. Merging his identity as a collector in India and a retailer in London, Sridhar then went on to launch the Kaash Foundation in his hometown Bangalore, to take his work with artisans deeper. “I thought there is so much that could be done in India, but for that I would have to start an organisation. And then everything happened organically.” The name Kaash is after his grandfather who was called Kashi, but it also means ‘potential’ which is what the space wishes to explore in the context of Indian craft. During the pandemic he got lucky and found a beautiful heritage home to launch this space.
“The objects I have mentioned here are part of my personal collection, but these are what inform my work at Kaash,” he adds.
This trio ROOTS, ANCESTOR & HOPE is by the Warli artist brother duo Mayur and Tushar Vayeda, and its symbolism is meaningful for me: ROOTS seem like the tree of life, while ANCESTOR is a beautiful outline of trees. HOPE is the view of a tree canopy from the ground looking upto the sky. We swapped mud, the traditional backdrop for Warli art with corten steel, which echoes the texture of mud, but creates a beautiful deep backdrop for the intricacy of the Vayeda Brothers’ work.
This is a Meena art work by Sunita, which we commissioned for KAASH. The art is originally practiced on mud walls and floors, but we decided to use wood to echo the texture of the mud as a backdrop for the beautiful craft. Something about the wall art made me think about another type of wall art: graffiti. We created this dream-like work of animal and plant life, with layered, interpretive narratives.
I got this sculpture as a gift from my sister. She told me she was concerned about selecting something for me since I’m very picky. However, I fell in love with the work she got. The stone is from Mahabalipuram and echoes the formation of lingams and traditional stone sculptures from the region.
This is an original design for my store Evoke London. When we started working on Bidri for Evoke, the thought of constellations came to our designer’s mind, and from it emerged this star speckled vase. It was recently acquired by the V&A museum for their permanent collection.
This is a collection of masks from Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh. It’s an eclectic collection obtained from auctions, stores, and marketplaces. My grandfather collected antique bronzes from South India. It’s nice to continue collecting old metalware from South India, but in entirely different forms from what my grandfather collected.
I get my Kohlapuris customized by one of the best Kohlapuri artisans in the country to my size. The details are impeccable and they age so beautifully. They’re stylish and timeless.
I acquired a pair of these beaded chairs for my store. After one chair from the pair sold, we decided to keep the second one in our permanent collection. It’s such a unique design and very hard to come by the same chair. Although it seems to be newly made, it echoes the original form of bold Yoruba beaded craft culture. This one’s a unique treasure which we’ve decided to hold on to.