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Why you must see Elsie Nanji’s exhibition titled “A Retrospective”

AUG 3, 2016 | By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Elsie Nanji, Managing Partner Red Lion Publicis, gives us a glimpse into her colourful career, where she has been instrumental in creating iconic ads and styling homes with her “Midas” touch. Plus, she narrates little anecdotes from her early years. Her “A Retrospective” exhibition spans over 40 years of her creations. Here’s an excerpt from our quick conversation with her:
ELLE DECOR: Tell us about your journey so far.
Elsie Nanji: I started working at the age of 20 at Lowe Lintas where I was a trainee. There, Alyque Padamsee delegated small jobs to me in theatre for him and that’s when I started my first creative works.
ED: How did the idea of “A Retrospective” come about?
EN: I was recently awarded the Hall of Fame by Communications Art Guild and was asked to put up my works at the JJ School of Arts. However, looking at the dismal state of this premier institute of India made me want to host it someplace else. I approached the Mahindra’s and Goenkas for help, to whom I am a design consultant and with their guidance, I hired a bungalow at Kemps Corner, Mumbai and curated an entire show. It traces my 40 years in the industry; my works have been divided into the 80s, 90s, 2000 and 2010 onwards. Here, 50 percent work is segregated into advertising and other half is interiors. The photographs have been selected in a way so it reads like a journey over four decades. One can see pictures of the Patni Birthing Centre in Thane, Four Seasons Aer Bar at Worli, my Kashid home and the Mahindra office at Gateway among many others.
ED: Who would you say were your mentors over the years?
EN: Many people have influenced me with their work and encouragement. The veteran Mohammad Khan guided me during my time in advertising, the jury members at Clio and the people I met at D&AD have encouraged me too. Ross Lovegrove and Michael Wolff are not only inspirations but also my good friends. Other than that, I am always motivated with everything around me – nature, people, their humour and personalities.
ED: What are your current projects?
EN: Too many! I am working on the Reliance IMG office in Nariman Point and the Hindustan Levers LTD learning center called F Block in Andheri that is still in progress. I am also designing Theobroma’s new brand Three Chicks and A Bear store along with styling personal homes for the Goenka’s and Mahindra’s.
Visit  “A retrospective” exhibition by Elsie Nanji from 5-7 August, at 127 Kemps Corner, Next to Om Chambers, Mumbai 26
Also read: Why you need to download Google Arts & Culture app