India Art Fair opening
India Art Fair is the leading platform to discover Modern and Contemporary art from South Asia, offering a unique access point to the region’s thriving cultural scene. Led in partnership with BMW India and with artists’ voices at its center this year, the fair will present 85 exhibitors, including 71 galleries and 14 institutions. With India set to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, the expansion of its art market has grown in parallel with India Art Fair at its helm.
Inviting audiences to explore and experience the power of digital art, The Studio will house an arresting selection of tech-meets-art projects and installations. This will include a dedicated Digital Residency Hub showcasing artworks made by the three India Art Fair Digital Artists in Residence, all made on iPad Pro and in response to the theme ‘Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary’. The Studio will also host special digital projects supported by the Serendipity Arts Foundation and The Gujral Foundation with video and tech-inspired artworks presented by contemporary artists Julien Segard and Payal Arya and Aditi Kulkarni respectively; along with digital animations and drawings by Shrimanti Saha in an interactive public project supported by Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA).
India Art Fair’s Digital Artists in Residence, Gaurav Ogale, Mira Felicia Malhotra and Varun Desai will also lead interactive sessions curated by Today at Apple, giving audiences an opportunity to step into their vast creative universes, while creating digital artworks of their own using iPad Pro.
Visual artist and illustrator, Mira Felicia Malhotra will highlight the oddities and idiosyncrasies of Indian family life in vibrant portraits of women titled ‘Loag Kya Kahenge’; artist, poet and writer Gaurav Ogale will invite audiences to explore the extraordinary biographies of ordinary people through an audio-visual book anthology series ‘Bestsellers’; and multidisciplinary artist Varun Desai will create an immersive projection room giving a glimpse of the future, one that fuses artificial intelligence and human consciousness.
The fair champions a multiplicity of artistic practices and diverse voices through its Artists-in-Residence programme. Debashish Paul will present a performance art piece, which details how art helps him uncover the nuances of his queer identity. The Vayeda brothers will transform the fair’s facade into a Forest of the Future, celebrating their community and ancestors with deep research into Warli traditions, mythological stories and rituals, and a translation of this knowledge to paintings that speak to the now. Conceptual artist Lakshmi Madhavan will revisit the dying kasavu textile tradition of Kerala to act as a thread connecting the past to the future in a newly commissioned gold-and-white textile installation.
The fair programme will feature path-breaking performances by Debashish Paul and Prabhakar Kamble. Paul will evoke the joy of childhood in a performance titled Me & My Pets, holding conversations with imaginary pets, characters and his many internal selves as a means to express and explore his queer identity, while Kamble will call into question caste privilege by walking around blindfolded across the fairgrounds in a performance titled Protected Ignorance.
This year’s Outdoor Art Projects at the fair will include: Parag Tandel’s thought-provoking sculptural installation of the seven small islands that constituted Mumbai before it grew into the mega metropolis that it is today, supported by TARQ, Mumbai; a surreal 8-feet tall and twisted fibreglass scale by Shivani Aggarwal inviting audiences to measure the intangible such as emotions of love, joy, intimacy and truth, supported by Studio Art, New Delhi; a monumental marble dust sculpture resembling a pelvic bone by Prashant Pandey that references the marvellous moment of the birth of life supported by GALLERY MASKARA, Mumbai; Sonia Khurana’s immersive performance installation supported by Kiran Nadar Museum of Art; a curated presentation of Serendipity Arts Foundation’s Food Lab Project; and a large-scale computational art project supported by Tezos India with NFT artworks by Karthik Dondeti, Pixelkar, Aranya and KALA made freely available for visitors to collect on the blockchain.
India Art Fair will publish an all-women led poster zine titled Fire in the Belly for the 2023 edition championing the voices of eight artists and creative powerhouses, including Anikesa Dhing, Aravani Art Project, Aqui Thami, Dhruvi Acharya, Meena Kandasamy, Rithika Pandey, Shilpa Gupta and Zeenat Kulavoor, each sharing their dreams, hopes, prayers and wisdom for an equal world. From pain, pleasure, and mental health to sexuality, the caste system and the body, each poster page will be a blazing response to the theme ‘Fire in the Belly’, encouraging readers to participate in creating a new world order based on feminist optimism and the power of small actions in introducing lasting change.
The talks programme taking place in the fair’s Auditorium will dive deep into conversations surrounding the arts, inviting leading artists and arts professionals to align on critical subjects, and collectively shape the future for an inclusive art scene.
Highlights include What Are We Causing: Ecology, Environment & Sustainability, a session that brings together eco artists Sharbendu De, Dharmendra Prasad, Rida Gatphoh and Nobina Gupta; two-part panel Looking at Art Historical Blind Spots which will raise important questions around representation of queer, minority religion and Dalit voices in art; Zabaan Aur Pehchaan in which poets Sabika Abbas Naqvi and Pranav Kirti, artist Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Gond artist Japani Shyam discuss language barriers in the path to creativity in a conversation led in Hindi, Disability With(In) The Arts: Looking Inward will lay the ground for a more inclusive art world, Changing Formats of Art Making: Tech, Art and Law, a session dedicated to understanding the fast-changing art ecosystem through a legal lens, amongst others.
India Art Fair opening
Location: NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi
Duration: 9 February – 12 February