Fifth India Art Fair brings together a host of enthusiasts

The fifth India Art Fair was previewed in New Delhi on January 31 and thereafter, thrown open to the public for 3 days. Planned by the organisers as the “largest and most vibrant display of Indian art under one roof that the country has ever seen”, one might say the target was reached. Considering that every version of the India Art Fair, from the time when it was known as the Art Summit, has shown steady growth, with the participation of more than 100 art galleries from 24 countries, the target of 80,000 visitors should be quite easily reached.

Art has always been a binding force among nations and it is this cross migration that spreads techniques and styles to the far corners of the globe. Art fairs all over the world bring artists, art collectors, art galleries and the public together in the most effective way, helping to create trends while giving the much-needed recognition to artists who might have faded into oblivion without a credible platform and public appreciation. Located at the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in Okhla Industrial Estate, the fair offered 20,000 square metres of exhibition space, designed to accommodate the work of hundreds of artists, both from India and many from across the globe. India Art Fair director Neha Kripal sums up the role of the fair when she says, “The art fair brings everyone of significance together from across the country, artists galleries, curators, thinkers and engages them at several levels.” To improve art sales and international transactions, the organisers have roped in international auction house Christie’s as a partner.

The wide variety of work on display was a visual treat for art lovers, as famous international names such as Salvadore Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Britain’s Damien Hirst share space with Anish Kapoor and Subodh Gupta. Artists from Bangladesh and Pakistan also find a base at this year’s fair. The organisers of the Dhaka Art Summit, Samdani Foundation of Bangladesh had sponsored four leading Bangladeshi artists — Mahbubur Rahman, Tayeba Begum Lipi, Ayesha Sultana and Mohammed Wahiduzzaman, while renowned artist Rashid Rana of Pakistan whose work includes steel sculptures, photo mosaics and also video installations was brought in by Mumbai’s Chatterjee and Lal.

As expected, India’s most famous painters attracted plenty of attention. MF Husain’s work was seen in a number of art galleries, including Delhi Art Gallery, Crayon Capital Art, UK’s Grosvenor Gallery, New York’s Aicon Gallery and even by Singapore’s Indigo Blue Art. One of India’s biggest names, Tyeb Mehta, was one of the fair’s most visited artists at Crayon Capital Art, as were Ram Kumar and FN Souza at New Delhi’s Chawla Art Gallery. Gallery Artchill’s launch of Mellifluence, announced as the ‘World’s First 3D Art Book’, was based on a solo exhibition by Akash Choyal from Rajasthan. Gallerie Ganesha’s chose to present miniature works by a number of Indian artists including Satish Gujral, Ganesh Haloi, Ganesh Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury, Paresh Maity, Lakshma Goud, Jayasri Burman, Prabhakar Kolte and a host of others.

There is much to write about, as each participating gallery brought in their best efforts and another column will be needed to do justice to this incredible effort by the organisers. Before I close, I must mention also that it is eventually the display and the special dimensions created through lighting and positioning that helps to bring out the best in a work of art. Despite the large and somewhat unwieldy expanse of the 5th India Art Fair, the organisers are to be congratulated on creating unforgettable experiences for everyone.

(The writer is a winner of many advertising

design awards and apainter of repute)


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