Coffee with Roshi Mandeep Chadha: Bridging Cultures with Art

Coffee with Roshi Mandeep Chadha: Bridging Cultures with Art

 

I meet with Roshi Mandeep Chadha in the opulent neighborhood of Westmount where she tends to her new pet project, Olives en folie, a gourmet store with a decadent selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I am given a tour of the shop before we head over to a local café for good coffee and a delightful conversation.

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Roshi Chadha, she is a member of Blue Metropolis’ board of directors and has devoted herself in supporting public institution in areas of art, education, and health. She describes her engagement with various organizations as destiny, stating that when one door opens, another opportunity frequently presents itself. She humbly admits that she is grateful to have been involved in so many admirable initiatives and affirms with a big smile,  “I have received more than I have ever given.”

 

Amid our conversation, it becomes clear that Roshi Chadha has a sincere passion for art. Having studied philosophy in the past, she returned to school years later to complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in art history. During this time, she discovered her love for Inuit art and has since been an active supporter. In 2010, she contributed to the first exhibition in India to feature Canadian Indigenous art. The project was entitled Sanaugavut: Inuit Art from the Canadian Arctic and was organized by the National Gallery of Canada along with the National Museum and the National Museum Institute in New Delhi. The intent of the project was to unite two cultures together and reinforce their established ties—a cause Roshi Chadha feels deeply about.

 

Additionally, with the help of the Chadha Family Foundation, Canada gifted India with an Inukshuk designed by two Inuit artists. In the heart of the Inukshuk, the artists secured three stones. Two of the stones are from the artists’ hometown: Cape Dorset and Tuktoyaktuk, Canada, while the third is from Rajasthan, India—a beautiful symbol of a cultural cross over. Should you ever desire to see it, the Inukshuk is located in New Delhi in front of the High Commission of Canada.

 

It must be noted that before her immersion in visual arts, Roshi Chadha revelled in the literary arts. From a young age, she has had an appetite for fine literature from all over the world. By the time she was 13-years-old, she had read Russian classics such as Anna Karenina and War and Peace (the latter listed as one of the longest novels ever written.) Over the span of her early years, Chadha recorded her favourite literary passages in a diary. Her early love for literature sprouted without falter over the course of her life. Currently, she participates in a book club (she has been a member for over 16 years), and partakes in a poetry club where members enthral one another with poems over delectable food and wine.  Despite poetry’s intimidating nature and Chadha’s cultivated taste in literature, she insists that the poetry club does not tolerate big egos and pomposity. It’s all for fun, she tells me.

 

Roshi Chadha hopes that art and culture grow to become more accessible to the general audience through organizations like the Blue Metropolis Foundation. On a final note, she imparts to me some wisdom: “To understand a country, you must understand their art.”

 

Sufia Duez is a freelance writer and editor. She also works as a part-time publicist for Metatron, an independent Canadian publishing house. She is the co-producer of Inventions, a monthly series promoting all genres of music and literature in Montréal.