After two whole years, the annual India Art Fair took place from April 28 under the leadership of new Fair Director, Jaya Asokan.
A leading platform to discover and celebrate modern and contemporary art from South Asia, IAF in partnership with BMW India, presents 77 exhibitors across 16 cities, and 14 non-profit foundations and institutions. Through an open call led in collaboration with The Gujral Foundation and Artdemic, Anshuka Mahapatra was selected to design the tent façade of the 2022 fair.
The IAF ’22 stands testament to the resilience of the Indian and South Asian art market and the art community at large. Through initiatives like auditorium talks, performances, outdoor art projects and artist-led workshops, the fair spotlights the upcoming generation of artists, while also crediting modern masters throughout the years.
The ongoing edition will see participation from the Kochi Biennale Foundation, Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation and Serendipity Arts, among others.
In the new edition, the fair will see the extension of its role beyond that of the annual event. Making inroads into the local and international art scene, the fair will expand its digital presence through website editorials and films, online talks, workshops and exhibition walkthroughs, as well as the IAF Parallel programme, in addition to events and exhibitions of Indian and South Asian art taking place in cities across India and the world.
Commenting on the fair, Fair Director Jaya Asokan added, “The team and I are thrilled for India Art Fair to return in its physical format, and to celebrate with the artists, galleries and partners who have taken the region’s arts scene from strength to strength. With an unwavering commitment to its home base, the 2022 fair will welcome participants and collectors that extend beyond the traditional art hubs of New Delhi and Mumbai, such as Kolkata, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. The pandemic has presented immense opportunities for learning and experimentation prompting discussions on the future development of South Asian art. Along with a fast-growing digital presence and year-round programming, the return to a physical fair will be a show of our determination and a reminder that India Art Fair is the first place to see and discover artists from the region.”
While there is plenty to look forward to, here are some of the top highlights of the upcoming fair.
1. New Galleries
In addition to the many galleries around the world, the India Art Fair ’22 will see a host of new galleries presenting works both in the country and internationally. Within India itself, seven new galleries will make their debut. These include APRE Art House (Mumbai), Art Incept (New Delhi), Gallery Art Exposure (Kolkata), Modern Art Gallery (New Delhi), Ojas Art (New Delhi), Terrain.art (New Delhi) and Vida Heydari Contemporary (Pune).
2. Fair Sections
Focus will showcase solo presentations curated by participating galleries. The forthcoming edition’s line-up includes the likes of Sudip Roy by Aakriti Art Gallery (Kolkata), Chetnaa by Anupa Mehta Arts (Mumbai), Stephen Cox by Apparao Galleries (Chennai, New Delhi), Thota Vaikuntam by Emami Art (Kolkata), P.R. Daroz by Gallerie Nvya (New Delhi), Ankon Mitra by Gallery Art Positive (New Delhi), Vinod Daroz by Kalakriti Art Gallery (Hyderabad), and Christian Achenbach by Galerie ISA (Mumbai).
The Platform section will feature traditional Indian artforms under the oversight of curator Amit Kumar Jain. Exhibitors under this section will include galleries like the Delhi Crafts Council, Gallery Ragini, Nature Morte, Ojas Art, Inherited Arts Forum and Fableux Arts all located in New Delhi. The 2022 section takes the title Patina and Pigment with a vision todemonstrate the rich, dynamic and ever-evolving nature of traditional art practices and will showcase masterpieces of Gond painting by Jangarh Singh Shyam, a Madhubani painting by Anmana Devi, rare bhuta bronze masks from coastal Kerala and Karnataka, textiles and wall carpets from Rajasthan and more.
The celebrated Institutions section will return with several leading cultural festivals, collectives and non-profit foundations from the region. These include the renowned Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation, Kochi Biennale Foundation, Aravani Art Project (Bengaluru), Kolkata Centre for Creativity (Kolkata), Space Studio (Vadodara), HH Art Spaces (Goa) and Museo Camera (Gurugram); and in New Delhi, institutions like the Alkazi Theatre Archives, Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), Liszt Institute Hungarian Cultural Centre, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) and Serendipity Arts Foundation.
3. Outdoor Projects
The art fair this year will showcase large-scale installations presented by institutions extending across the fairgrounds, such as a library of festival books and catalogues by Serendipity Arts Foundation, a large screen display of iconic works in the past four editions of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, women and trans-women collective Aravani Art Project who will create a 50-feet long mural along the walkway into the fair supported by Saffronart Foundation; an intricate and large-scale metal scrap sculpture by artist Narayan Sinha presented by Arts Ananda Trust, a special Shilpa Gupta t-shirt with the statement ‘I Look at Things With Eyes Different From Yours’ which will be worn by fair volunteers and interns and an installation made by university students on the power of art therapy by Ashoka University Centre for Well Being.
4. Public Programs
Artists in Residence
This section is designed for young talent whose voices will resonate with the public at large. Artists in this section will lead specialist workshops, presentations and performances that address some of the most pertinent issues in the art world through their works. Arpita Akhanda’s work makes visible the legacy of colonialism on the body, while Indu Antony provocatively responds to topics around femininity and feminism. A tender and playful telling of queer stories that is integral to Gurjeet Singh’s practice, and Haroun Hayward whose influences include ’90s dance music, hip-hop, electronic music and miniature painting traditions are part of the collection.
Auditorium Talks Programme
With the Auditorium Talks Programme, India Art Fair will curate talks, panels and performances by leading voices in the art world – from artists to curators, gallerists and collectors. These include a BMW Art Talk with celebrated Indian artist Atul Dodiya in conversation with his friend and gallerist Shireen Gandhy, a Collector Talk by Kiran Nadar, India’s leading art patron and founder of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, a film presentation and talk by South Asian diasporic artist Hetain Patel, artist presentations by India Art Fair Artists-in-Residence Haroun Hayward and Indu Antony, the launch of a seminal publication on 20th Century Indian Art published by Thames & Hudson, a conversation between the iconic Indian Magnum photographer Raghu Rai and the French Ambassador to India, Emmanuel Lenain, the launch of the much-anticipated book MovingFocus, India, a talk on art and technology titled NFTease which will address and give context to the rise around NFTs by Indian NFT artist Raghava KK, Om Malviya of blockchain platform Tezos India, Aparajita Jain of the Indian NFT platform Terrain.art, Kamya Ramachandran of techart platform BeFantastic and radbot creator Vasundhara Das, and a memorial talk on the late Satish Gujral given by the renowned art critic Gayatri Sinha.
The fair’s popular Performance Art programme will present powerful young voices with Gurjeet Singh recreating the whimsical world of children playing house through a queer and colourful lens. Arpita Akhanda will present an emotional performance exploring the effects of partitions on the body, and British-Indian artist Hetain Patel presenting a very special performance for the first time at the fair supported by British Council, India.
The Workshop Space at the fair will include a programme of hands-on activities titled ‘Rediscovery’ for visitors led by India Art Fair Artists-in-Residence Gurjeet Singh and Arpita Akhanda, printmaker Paula Sengupta, along with special workshops for the public, educators and students, all curated by Kriti Sood of LAND (Learning Through Arts, Narrative and Discourse). These workshops will be inclusive and conducted in Hindi, English and sign language. There will also be a special workshop on Indian embroidery techniques led by Etsy Seller and Ritu Jain.
Young Collectors’ Programme
Aiming to widen access to art and collecting amongst the next generation, the fair will host an expanded Young Collectors’ Programme. A mix of educational and social events, the programme will include curated walkthroughs of the fair, artist studio and collector home visits, gallery openings and special evenings throughout the India Art Fair week. The programme will kick-off with a new creative collaboration with young and cutting-edge gallery, Method being brought to Delhi in an exhibition titled Fresh Produce hosted at STIR by young patrons and music rising-stars MadStarBase, and a fresh take on ethical collecting brought to life over a walkthrough of the Archaeological Survey of India’s new Gallery of Retrieved and Confiscated Artifacts showing some of the most important antiquities recently repatriated to India.
Running through India Art Fair month, the IAF Parallel programme provides a unique, multi-layered experience for audiences to celebrate the vibrant art scene of the city of New Delhi. Celebrating the legacy of some of India’s most revered artists, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) will host two centenary exhibitions: Birth of a White Rose honouring Somnath Hore, and Sayed Haider Raza Centenary Exhibition in collaboration with Raza Foundation at Bikaner House.
Complementing the centenary exhibitions, the museum will also exhibit 365 recent paintings by Atul Dodiya that capture the ebb and flow of life during the pandemic. As part of the Defence Colony Gallery Night, Vadehra Art Gallery will showcase solo shows of two emblematic artists of the Indian figurative genre, N.S. Harsha and Manjit Bawa. Ganesh Pyne’s small-scale and intricate works will also be on display at Akar Prakar, while Shrine Empire Gallery will present works by Sangeeta Maity, based on her time researching and working with indigenous communities of Eastern India.
Gallery Espace will showcase recent works by Manisha Gera Baswani, Nature Morte will show works by Seher Shah in their large Dhanmill space, legacy gallery Dhoomimal Gallery will show a group of iconic 20th century Indian artists from Nasreen Mohamedi to Varun Desai, and the Crites Collection will show works of Indian folk and indigenous art titled Bhumijan at the India Habitat Centre.
Additionally, Exhibit 320, Latitude 28, Gallery Art Positive and Wonderwall will host the Lado Sarai Night, in the namesake urban village of New Delhi, which boasts eclectic galleries and experimental design studios, among other grassroots spaces.