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11th India Art Fair opens, showcases art and stories by over 1,000 artists


IANS New Delhi
The heavyweights of the Indian art world descended upon the NSIC Grounds here on Thursday, as the much-awaited India Art Fair painted the town in multiple hues of India's diverse arts, and became a hit as soon as it opened.
With over 75 galleries -- a major chunk of them local -- representing over a 1,000 artists, the grand affair was a window to the plurality of art forms there are -- paintings, sculptures, and installations, to name a few broad categories, and witnessed slices of the past and present, and the traditional, modern, and contemporary.
While many Indian galleries chose to stick to modernist masters like M.F. Hussain, S.H. Raza and Jamini Roy, who already enjoy an established marketplace, a sizeable number also fielded art works by young artists. Booths of countries like Singapore, Korea, and Italy, among others, were present as well.A
Senior artists like Arpita Singh, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Rameshwar Broota and leading contemporary artists including Atul Dodiya, Shilpa Gupta, Anju Dodiya, Nalini Malani, NS Harsha, Jagannath Panda, Praneet Soi, also found space in Delhi-based Vadehra Art Gallery booth.
Leading art institutions like the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, FICA, and Serendipity Arts Foundation, among others, also exhibited unique artworks of a number of artists.A
Artist Manisha Baswani, who is originally a painter and documenter of artist's lives and studios, occupied a space outside the booths with her project "Postcards from Home". She narrated a fascinating backstory behind the project -- sacks of wheat grain showing the stories of 47 artists from India and Pakistan.
"My parents are from the pre-partition Pakistan, and when I was documenting Indian artists, it took me to Pakistan. Artists there would tell me their India connection, and I just had to record their stories," Baswani told IANS, standing amid the sacks placed on ground, encouraging visitors to take these story postcards home.
More stories could be found in each nook and corner of the Fair, as one hopped from booth to booth. A special section 'Art Projects', caught attention, but not many visitors.
"A Thousand White Flags" by artist Shalini S Vichitra, was created when her travels to Buddhist regions led to her leaving white cloth flags in trekking trails, largely in Leh, as told to IANS.
Reminiscent of Buddhist prayer flags or cloth banners strung to bless the vast stretches of land beneath them, and white being symbolic of peace, the installation was the artist's way of keeping peace alive across geographic boundaries.
Another booth space by Emami Art, curated by Pinakin Patel, immerses visitors into a narrative of a forest turned into a village, and then a city but one that holds on to the a stone deity. It is the only space in the Fair that encourages an art lover to pick up a brush and paint from a palette themselves, visualising what a stone deity means to them.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 9:18 PM IST

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