India Art Fair Is All Set for an All-New Avatar

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India’s largest art fair is back with its 10th edition, with a greater focus on South Asia’s treasures and some never-before-seen works of Raja Ravi Varma and Amrita Sher-Gil.

With 3500 works, 90 booths and 85 exhibitors, all hailing from 67 countries, the India Art Fair (IAF) has already created a buzz with the many small but significant changes made to it this year. The IAF 2018 promises to be an edition with a difference, offering a staggering line-up of artists, curators, critics, academics and collectors. From 9thto 12th February, 2018, the IAF sheds light on the fast-developing arts culture in the country, at the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi.

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Treasures from South Asia

IAF has always been a home ground for South Asian artists and galleries. Focused on creating a dialogue more than anything else, this year, itis focused on providing greater access to South Asia’s traditional treasures. With a focus on Indian vernacular art, local galleries have a prominent representation this year with inclusion of private institutions and collectives in the 4-day fair.

To represent the timeline of art in South Asia, galleries are showcasing works of Anjolie Ela Menon, FN Souza and J Swaminathan. In striking contrast to these are works by Rana Begum and Manisha Parekh, which have a more contemporary outlook. A truly exciting exhibit, ‘Navratna—Nine Gems by the DAG’, is paying tribute to India’s very own artists Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.The show also creates an opportunity to witness never-before-seen works, like pages from Raja Ravi Varma’s sketchbook, and a relief sculpture of tigers that is the only one of its kind made by Amrita Sher-Gil in plaster of Paris.

Galleries included in the line-up are the very well-loved Chatterjee & Lal, Jhaveri Contemporary, Threshold Art Gallery, Latitude 28, Chemould Prescott Road, Experimenter, Gallery Espace, and Vadehra Art Gallery, to name a few. In line with the event’s focus on South Asian artists, a newly introduced section ‘Art Projects’ is showcasing commissioned works of South Asian artists like G Ravinder Reddy, Tanya Goel and Sudipta Das from India; and Imran Qureshi and Zoya Siddiqui from Pakistan and the meticulous and detail-oriented work of artist Timothy Hyunsoo Lee from South Korea will be one of the, who is to be presented by Sabrina Amrani from Madrid.

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Director Jagdip Jagpal’s New Roadmap for IAF

This year’s edition is all the more exciting under the stewardship of Jagdip Jagpal, who has taken reins from the fair’s founder and former director Neha Kirpal. Jagpal has an impressive background, having worked for the Manchester Museum and the Manchester Art Gallery and as the International Program Manager at Tate Manchester Museum. Jagpal wants to solidify the IAF’s connections with the art community in the region, to form a booming ecosystem for all kinds of arts.

Jagpal has envisioned many small, incremental changes this year. To make the visitor experience more user-friendly and meaningful, she’s had the plan of the space altered so that people can navigate it better, and created more seating spaces. She’s already announced that there will be a more elaborate and publicised Children’s Section at the Fair, organised in collaboration with Penguin Random House, and made the catalogue free for anyone who wants a copy of it. The format of the event has been changed so as to include fewer panel discussions and more educational talks, on subjects like authentication and conservation.

A moving image work by Hetain Patel, alongside a new strand of talks titled ‘I know what you did last summer’, invites established artists to showcase their recent international projects while discussing them. The first participant to be announced was Pakistani artist Waqas Khan.

A special showcase of The Sari Series by Border and Fall, a digital anthology documenting India’s regional sari drapes through short films will see a screening of 3 short films alongside the art fair.

Younger galleries like TARQ (Mumbai) and Anant Art (New Delhi), alongside first-time participants Samara Art Gallery and ZOCA (both Ahmedabad) bring a fresh perspective to the contemporary art scene in the country to the fair. There’s been an attempt at creating a more intimate and accessible environment for not only the visitors, but also the artists and galleries.

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The 2018 edition of the India Art Fair promises to be the art fair that we know and love in a whole new avatar, and we can’t wait to see everything it has to offer!

Image source: India Art Fair

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