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More South Asia at this year's India Art Fair

In its eighth edition this year, the India Art Fair brings a greater focus on to art from South Asia

Ritika Kochhar 

Thomas Erben Gallery: Yamini Nayar, as yet untitled
Thomas Erben Gallery: Yamini Nayar, as yet untitled

The India Art Fair, which starts in New Delhi on January 29, is only eight years old but has become the fifth most-attended art fair in the world. This year, as Priyanka Raja from Gallery Experimenter says, “It is a phenomenally different show from anything that’s been done previously. It's almost like a new fair.”

For one, there’s a greater international and South Asian feel to it. There will be over 3,500 art works from 1,100 national and international artists. But there is an entirely new list of components, too. A series called the Institutional will have showcases from top Indian museums like Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum, the Devi Art Foundation and the Jindal Art Centre. A Spotlight series with BMW, which is the event’s presenting partner, will show the 1971 Cesar Manique BMW 730i Art Car. Raja adds that she is especially interested in Projects, which will exhibit select works by artists like Ram Rahman, Joel Andrianomearisoa, Krishna Reddy, Wim Delvoye and Sakshi Gupta. “I’m excited about the 30-feet-tall installation by Julien Segard. It is also a great example of how in Neha Kirpal’s vision, commercial space and transactions come after the art, despite the fair still being in its nascent years.” Kirpal is the fair’s founding director.

There will be 70 national and international galleries exhibiting this year, with 18 new participants that include Grey Noise from Dubai, Hafez Gallery from Jeddah, Edel Assanti from London, Sabrina Amrani from Madrid, Rome’s Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch and Hosfelt Gallery from San Francisco. A new section called Platform will focus on young emerging artists, key art spaces and collectives from the subcontinent. The collectives include Blueprint12 and Swaraj Art Archive from India, the Nepal Art Council, Theertha Artists Collective from Sri Lanka, Taseer from Pakistan and the Bengal Art Lounge from Bangladesh.

This year, the fair is outward looking. Zain Masud has been brought in as the international director to position the show to collectors from across the world, especially To this end, a separate “Collectors Lounge” is being set up for the first time at the fair.

Other highlights from the Speaker’s Forum panels include speakers such as Stuart Comer from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Osman Waheed, founder and chair for the Lahore Biennale Foundation, and Dina Bangdel from the Nepal Arts Council.

ART ABOUT TOWN                                                                                       Avantika Bhuyan
More South Asia at this year's India Art Fair
Be it the street doctor or the vitality paste seller, these informal medicinal practitioners will be the focus during the Delhi leg of the multi-city arts project, Medicine Corner. Titled Trick or Treat, the seminar and workshop have been curated by BLOT!
Trick or Treat will be held at the British Council on January 22
More South Asia at this year's India Art Fair
Through its latest show, Diary Entries, Gallery Espace will reflect on the process of creating and the very act of art. Curated by Gayatri Sinha, this “all-women show” will feature artists such as Nilima Sheikh, Paula Sengupta, Sheba Chhachhi and Hemali Bhuta.
Diary Entries will be held at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, from January 22 to February 20
More South Asia at this year's India Art Fair
The genius of Modern Masters will be on showcase again, this time at the Kumar Gallery. Titled Celebration, this collateral event of the also coincides with the 60th year of the gallery. On display will be 45 paintings by F N Souza, M F Husain, S H Raza, Ram Kumar, Krishen Khanna, Ramkinkar Baij, N S Bendre and more.
Celebration will be showcased at Kumar Gallery, New Delhi, between January 25 and February 5
More South Asia at this year's India Art Fair
A unique exhibition, titled Level 01, presents experimental art games created by artists from diverse backgrounds. Presented by Khoj International Artists’ Association, the show seeks to enhance the gaming experience within the structural framework of visual arts.
Level 01 will be on view at Khoj Studios, New Delhi, from January 27 till February 20
More South Asia at this year's India Art Fair
After the success of its 2013 edition, PUBLICA, the public arts festival, is back in a new avatar. This year’s edition work created by Indian and international artists — such as Gigi Scaria, Anant Mishra, Deepjyoti Kalita, Krishna Murari, Tushar Joag, Jasone Bilbao, Bhuwal Prasad, Owais Hussain and Raktim Parashar — between October 2015 and January 2016.
The 2nd edition of PUBLICA will be held at multiple venues in New Delhi and Mumbai between January 23 and February 29

A large part of the conversation around the fair addresses access and integration in the arts across This inevitably brings up a conversation about the long list of partners and supporters of the fair itself. It includes corporations, foreign missions and NGO’s. As delegates from international institutions — including The Guggenheim and The Met from New York, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London — gather in Delhi, dinners, exhibitions and cultural tours are being organised across the city by private collectors and galleries. What is also evident is the prominent lack of participation on the part of the Indian government, museums and culture ministry.

And yet, this has not held back the fair. Kirpal is organising public interactions and education through curated walks and tours for school and college students. Though, she says, government interaction would have helped. “Last year, the Delhi put up a monumental exhibition on the Bengal School that was significant for anyone wanting to learn about Indian art. The government could have helped by providing support and a venue for the exhibition to continue for a longer while. After all, the art fair format can only last for a couple of days, but an exhibition like that comes only once in a lifetime.”

The will be held at the NSIC Grounds, Okhla, New Delhi between January 29 and 31. For tickets, visit www.indiaartfair.in

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