Following the success of his solo exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, in November 2019, New-York based artist Raj Shahani was commissioned to create a sculpture for the Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort in Himachal Pradesh’s Mcleodganj – the first five-star, luxury hotel in the region. The artist unveiled his 17-foot sculpture – Jayanti – at the popular tourist destination following several months of meticulous planning. The site-specific sculpture, made of mirror-polished steel will stand as a permanent installation on the hotel’s lush property grounds. The sculpture serves as a reflective and conceptual homage to Dharamshala, a land steeped in spirituality and home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The artist has also curated the art exhibited across the hotel, including a series of photographs by him, inspired by Buddhist monks. The Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort recently opened in Dharamshala, with the inauguration attended by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. With its contemporary design and finish, the faceted, gem-stone shaped sculpture serves as a compelling reflection of the traditional and bucolic landscape of the mountain town. The sculpture carries a Sanskrit inscription devoted to the Goddess Jayanti, the monolith Mother Goddess of Dharamshala. Through its towering presence and public accessibility, Jayanti endeavours to create a dialogue between tradition and contemporary art in Dharamshala.
Raj Shahani’s meditative photographs, which have been exhibited throughout the space of the hotel, represent the compelling power of Buddhism, through their sensitive representation of Buddhist monks. The artist has been photographing Buddhist monks since 2016, across Myanmar and Dharamshala.
At the launch of the sculpture, the artist shared: “Spirituality and celebrating the brilliance of the human spirit are two vital cornerstones for me as an artist. One can’t help but be inspired by the natural beauty and profound spirituality of Dharamshala. I’m grateful that my work at the Hyatt Regency has been blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and I’m happy to be able to share my work and passion as an artist with the people of this special town.”
The artist most recently exhibited a series of sculptures, inspired by his photographs of ballet and contemporary dancers. The two-week long exhibition took place from November 4-16, 2019, at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai.