India Art Fair pulls in art enthusiasts
By RUKMA SALUJA
The India Art Fair has been a much awaited event on the calendar since its inception in 2011. Two years of COVID-related lockdowns put this, like much else, on freeze. That people look forward to it was evident from the sheer numbers on Day 1 of its return after the hiatus to view what the 77 participants had to offer.
Jaya Asokan, director IAF, has a clear vision for the platform. To democratise art, she would like to see it expand its scope from the physical to the performance arts and to participatory and interactive cultural events through the year. It is no surprise that Anushka Mahapatra, a student, was chosen to design the facade at the entrance to exhibiting halls.
While the international galleries that make up the numbers were largely missing, the participating Indian galleries have showcased an eclectic mix of old and new. The offerings are many and varied. Artist and co-founder of the Kochi Muziris Biennale said, “The idea of an event like this is to have diversity, there is no need to have any thread to bind it.”
Gallerie ISA displayed installations by Christian Achenbach, cast in steel, cobalt pigment and cast crystal glass, leaving you to interpret the significance of the orbs. Sudipta Das’ work is a poignant reminder of the mass migration and misery caused by the first lockdown. The Kalighat paintings at DAG had an interesting Shiva with a moustache and rounded physique different from the usual muscular one, and looking quite tipsy. With NFTs making a splash, there was Terrain.art flirting with the idea with ‘post fungible non human’.
BMW Group India, closely associated with the fair since 2012, for the first time this year commissioned an Indian artist, Faiza Hasan, to do the artwork on the BMW iX car ‘Suno’. This is usually done by an international artist of repute and shipped to India.
In keeping with environmental concerns, Art Alive Gallery will be exhibiting seventeen artists and a young contemporaries section focusing on six emerging contemporary artists who work with sustainable material like clay, sun-hemp paper, discarded materials etc.
Fair dates April 28 – May 1, 2022