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India Art Fair 2019 Gets Edgier

The leading platform to discover modern and contemporary art from South Asia, the India Art Fair has just got bigger with a wider approach towards art practices

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The much awaited art feature on Delhi’s annual calendar, the India Art Fair just got bigger.

With 75 exhibitors from 24 Indian and international cities, it was a great mix of different art forms sparking imagination and stimulating senses.

Eminent artist Satish Gujral said, “The art fair is a good approach to develop art. The way it has developed in last few years, one can see its contribution is encouraging both the artist and the collector. The present art scene is very vivid. Never before in both modern and contemporary art, have so many artists come up with such amazing originality on a single platform.”  The fair showcased Gujral’s works from the “Partition Series”, a series very close to his heart that gave viewers a rare opportunity to view these exclusive canvases from 1950s and 60s.

The fair featured art projects, ranging from large-scale interactive installations, to sculptures and video work. A pop-up concept store by GALLERYSKE offering artist designed products and sculptures was a popular section acting as a springboard for emerging art practices and art collectives.

Leading cultural organisations and foundations from the South Asia included the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Serendipity Arts Foundation, Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) (Bangalore), and the Bengal Foundation (Dhaka).

The fair reflected the changing face of the global art community with Forum, a platform encouraging opportunities aimed at the younger generation. Forum included performances and talks by internationally renowned artists, broadening perspectives, bringing the art world closer.

Jagdip Jagpal, Fair Director of India Art Fair, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome so many returning Indian and international galleries to India Art Fair for the 2019 edition. We are also very pleased to introduce a number of important new participants to our audiences for the first time, including neugerriemschneider and Sokyo Gallery, as well as Metta Contemporary and Museum of Art and Photography, Bangalore. By extending the fair across Delhi through the new IAF Parallel initiative we want our domestic and international visitors to explore India’s thriving art ecosystem.”

Outside the fair grounds, the new initiative IAF Parallel saw collateral events programmed by galleries, museums and arts spaces across the New Delhi. Highlights from IAF Parallel include Bharti Kher’s solo exhibition at Bikaner House; the opening of an exhibition dedicated to eminent artist Upendra Maharathi at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA); Arpita Singh’s retrospective at Kiran Nadar Museum of Art; a special exhibition by Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) at the Indira Gandhi National Centre of the Arts (IGNCA); and exhibition walkthroughs in Lado Sarai, a contemporary arts hub in South Delhi.

According to Dr Premilla Baid, Founder Gallery Sumukha, the fair has become something to look forward to every year by the art fraternity. “It is an important platform for young and new artists wanting to showcase their work and we as a gallery get a chance to promote them on a larger platform.” The Gallery presented the works of three important contemporary artists, Ravinder Reddy, Ravikumar Kashi and Shanthamani Muddaiah.

The focus on contemporary art and performances was definitely the highlight this year giving an edge to India Art Fair. Curator Manmeet K Walia said, “I really enjoyed the conversations initiated by talks that were very relevant and engaged most of us enthusiasts. For me, the show stopper was a live performance by Artist Mithu Sen who most of us would have seen in videos but seeing live it was a fabulous experience.  I enjoyed the works of artist Chetnaa who was represented by 3 different galleries and each gallery showed very different work speaking the same language through paper, gold foil to clay. I also enjoyed the works of the international entrant David Zwirner Gallery that had artworks by artists in display that we don’t really get to see in India.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Shveta Bhagat

The author is a Delhi-based freelance writer

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