India Art Fair is here again: Be there or be square

The India Art Fair, formerly known as the India Art Summit, is now just a couple of weeks away and it is time for all art lovers to mark these dates in their diaries. The three earlier Art Summits had attracted 170,000 people making this annual event one of the most attended art happenings in the world. International participation has grown tremendously and the upcoming Art Fair will feature 91 exhibitors from 20 countries. This year the event has moved from Pragati Maidan to the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi and visitors will be able to see the works of 1,000 of the world’s “most exciting modern and contemporary artists”, spread across a custom-built space measuring 12,000 sqm, in state-of-the-art German tents under the guidance of UK based production consultants 20:20 Events. The venue space design is by India’s highly acclaimed set designer, Sumant Jayakrishnan.

According to Neha Kirpal, founding director of India Art Fair, “The Art Fair has seen tremendous growth over a short period of time and much of its success can be attributed to its focus on providing a relevant and transparent platform for the Indian art scene…” The latest news is that the India Art Fair has been granted the status of a temporary museum by the cultural ministry.

The works of a number of the world’s most famous artists will be on show at the Fair. These include my all time favourite painter Pablo Picasso and other legendary names such as Salvadore Dali, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Marina Abramovic and others. Among the contemporary artists whose works we can hope to see are Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, Mona Hatoun and Antony Gormley — some of these names have featured often enough in my column and have achieved worldwide acclaim for their unusual and sometimes bizarre creations. Among the Indian galleries, Delhi leads with 75 per cent of the total galleries participating, while seven other cities make up the remaining 25 per cent. A clear indication that despite the volume of art being created elsewhere in India, our capital is aware of art trends the most. There are many exciting collateral events such as parties, public events at galleries, private viewings and studio visits. More details of the galleries and their exhibits will be featured in subsequent columns. Among the more important fringe shows is the prestigious Skoda Prize Show at Lalit Kala Akademi. The Hemi Bawa 2012 show of sculpture and mixed media at the DLF Emporio will also be worth seeing. Yoko Ono’s exhibition, Our Beautiful Daughters, at the Vadehra Gallery is bound to attract many visitors, for more reasons than one. Also the Shahpur Jat Galleries of popular artists, Arpana Caur, Prittam Priyalochan, Ravi Agarwal, along with Raqs Media Collective, can be expected to have plenty of footfalls. The Akar Prakar Gallery presents the works of the reclusive legendary sculptor from Bengal, Meera Mukherjee. The Kiran Nader Museum of Art offers Gayatri Sinha’s curated show titled Cynical Love: Life in the Everyday, featuring the works of young contemporary artists. The Fair is only three-days — from January 25 to January 28.

(The writer is a winner of many advertising design awards and a painter of repute)

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