our neighbor Sarva Girdhar

Sarva Girdhar has been a fixture of Baltimore's art community for many years as a collector. A bond over Indian art and heritage was made between Shawn Chopra, co-owner of good neighbor, and Sarva leading to a generous lending and curation of art, now on view inside guesthouse by good neighbor.

Shawn and Sarva sat down to chat about Sarva's background, how Baltimore inspires him, and what it means to be a good neighbor.

Shawn Chopra: Please introduce yourself.

Sarva Girdhar: I am Sarva Priya Girdhar, a physician and art collector. I mostly collect art of artists of Indian subcontinent.

SC: What do you recall as your first experience with art?

SG: When I was 18, a friend got me into modern art. We visited the studio of a new art grad. Inside were cool, colorful, and weird artworks that entertained my imagination. The artist explained how he created each piece, sharing the stories and ideas behind them. This sparked my interest in modern art, breaking away from traditional stuff. I started exploring abstract art, where feelings and boundaries are mixed up in a cool way. It wasn't just about looking at art but getting involved in it. Over the years, I went to art shows, talked to new artists, and got lost in the stories of each artwork. It became a lifelong adventure, with every gallery visit and artist chat adding to my love for modern and cool art. Looking back, that first dive into contemporary art changed what I liked and showed me how powerful art can be. It's not just pretty pictures; it can challenge, make you think, and open up a whole new world of discovery. Art is like a door to understanding yourself and an endless universe to explore.

SC: Who are some of your favorite artists, and why?

SG: M.F. Husain because there is a lot of curiosity around his work. Over the years, he has done a lot of artwork, including mythological figures, and at times, there has also been controversy in his artworks. S. H. Raza's geometrical and abstract images keep you wondering.

Krishan Khanna, particularly his Bandwalla series, because bands were always a part of Indian weddings and evoked curiosity.

Sujata Bajaj for her colors and incorporating Sanskrit shlokas in her artworks. Jamini Roy popularised Bengal School.

SC: What do you love about Baltimore, and how long have you been here?

SG: We have been in Baltimore for the last 46 years, and I like the neighborhoods of Baltimore with beautiful architecture. There are beautiful murals. It has street festivals like Artscape and two world-class art museums. There are good restaurants, particularly seafood and of course Crabs.

SC: How does art impact a community?

SG: Art has a magical way of weaving itself into the fabric of a community. It is like a vibrant thread that combines a diverse tapestry of people, stories, and experiences. Art reflects the identity and values of a community. Through murals, sculptures, or performances, art becomes a mirror that showcases the community's unique character. Abandoned buildings become canvases for murals, turning neglected areas into vibrant, revitalized spaces that instill a sense of pride in residents. It is also a vehicle that brings people from cultures worldwide together.
In essence, art is a silent force that speaks volumes, shaping the heart and soul of a community. It's a language that transcends barriers, fostering connection and understanding among diverse people.

SC: What does it mean to be a good neighbor?

SG: Being a good neighbor is all about creating a sense of community and mutual respect. It involves being considerate of others, maintaining open communication, and being willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Good neighbors are friendly, respectful of boundaries, and contribute to a positive and safe neighborhood environment. It's like being part of a team where everyone looks out for each other and works together to create a harmonious living space. That's exactly what you feel when you walk into your shop on Falls Road.

You can see Sarva's curated collection of work for our guesthouse during your next stay. You can save up to 30% off when you book for dates inbetween February 9th and February 18th by using the code "VALENTINES."

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