India’s art fair ropes in big global galleries (Weekly art column, Rainbow Palette, With Images)

May 22nd, 2009 - 10:25 am ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) The second edition of the Indian Modern and Contemporary Art Fair 2009, the sub-continent’s official art fair, will be bigger, better and more global this year with 16 international galleries, 64 speakers and 25 media partners from across the globe.

The three-day fair will be held during August 19-22 at the Pragati Maidan, the capital’s trade and exhibition hub.

The foreign galleries will include the prestigious Lisson Gallery from Britain, Aicon Gallery and Thomas Erben Gallery from New York, Arario Gallery from Beijing, Gallery Christian Hosp and Anant & Rao Gallery from Berlin, 1X1 Art Gallery from Dubai and HB Galerie from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, said Neha Kirpal, associate director of Hanmer MS&L, which hosts the art fair.

“The spread of exhibits is also bigger this year with special sections devoted to video art, installations and a sculpture park,” Kirpal told IANS here.

An installation project, “The Purple Wall Project”, a curated section featuring works by contemporary Indian artists conceptualised by Gayatri Sinha, will be spread across the venue that will take up 4,500 square metres of space - up from 1,400 square metres in 2008.

“The Indian art market has grown by 830 percent over the last decade despite the downturn that slowed down growth in the last quarter of 2008, compared to China whose market has grown by 730 percent,” Kirpal said, quoting the journal Artprice Statistics.

The Indian art market is valued at $400 million and is growing at nearly 35 percent annually.

The run-up to the fair will see an awareness seminar in June and a monthly newsletter on the Indian art market that will be on print this month, managing director of Hanmer MS&L Sunil Gautam told IANS.

“It will also be supported by the auction house Sotheby’s and the Lalit Kala Akademi, the official arts body of the Indian government,” Gautam said.


Art history book

The Greek wine vessel has travelled a long way. From ancient Greece, where it originated, it was adapted in various cultures in the Mediterranean, and transported to India, central Asia and China, says art writer Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky in the debut volume of India’s lone art history journal published from the capital.

Edited by Deepak K. Sarkar, the journal is a tribute to the memory of P. Banerjee, a pioneering expert on Indian, central Asian and Buddhist art.

The volume, which features historic articles on Buddhist art and aesthetics of the early Sino-Indian interactions, is full of facts, anecdotes, analysis, appreciation and rare black and white photographs drawn from archives across the globe.


Kebab on camera

The participants of “Dilli 6″, a six-month photography workshop, mainly in the walled city, are yet to get over the taste and the aromas of the sweets and spicy kebabs of the streets.

“I can

specially remember the stalls piled with mountains of succulent fried chicken, shammi kebabs, seekh kebabs and aloo tikkas,” said Ajit Bhadoriya, a college student, who accompanied the photography students as they captured the street food scene in their lenses May 14-15.

They were led by photography instructor Sephie Bergenson from Israel, who has compiled a volume, “Street Food of India”. He said shooting at the kiosks of Meena Bazar outside Jama Masjid was exciting because “life is different in the walled city. I took at least 1,000 shots of a chai-wallah.”

(Madhushree Chatterjee can be contacted at

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