Highlights from the VIP preview of 9th India Art Fair
The ninth edition of India Art Fair, South Asia’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art, launched its VIP preview on 2 February 2017 at NSIC grounds, New Delhi, with strong sales and apparently the largest turn out of non Delhi-based and international collectors that the art fair has ever seen.
Welcoming local and international VIP dignitaries, patrons and visitors from 20 different countries, both the mood and the sales were buoyant. A range of collectors and industry luminaries commented on the significance of what the fair is doing, bringing the best of the region to a global audience:
Rajeeb Samdani, Founder of the Samdani Art Foundation and Dhaka Art Summit commented: "There are a lot of non-commercial events in the region, including the Dhaka Art Summit, the Kochi Biennale and Colombo Biennale, but what is vital for the growth and survival of the art scene in the region is a fair, a market place and a collector base. Since the fair began, India Art Fair became a meeting point for everyone, which is of huge importance. For the next generation of collectors, India Art Fair is the best place to come."
One popular return to India Art Fair is the Platform section, providing the opportunity for the best of the established and emerging South Asian galleries, artists and artist collectives to exhibit on an established international platform. Dina Bangdel, Curator of Nepal Art Council said "Having India Art Fair's Platform series has been absolutely critical for exposure. For the South Asian artists themselves it is an amazing opportunity. Last year's artists have now gone on to exhibit at numerous biennales and triennales and I think that is really due to India Art Fair and our collaboration with them."
This edition has also seen the largest number of collectors from Mumbai since India Art Fair's inception with many travelling in size able groups with a curated art itinerary organised for their time at the fair.
Young Mumbai-based collector Vishal Mehta said "I've been coming to India Art Fair for four years. It is a fantastic platform to engage with India and South Asia's artists, and to find the best of the new younger contemporary artists, not just the moderns. The accessibility at the fair makes it interesting for both collectors and novices. It is a wonderful few days and an important part of the annual art calendar which I personally recommend to friends and for all budding collectors to come and see."
Marketing maverick Suhel Seth, Managing Partner of Counselage India said:
"I think India Art Fair is evolving with grace, elegance and maturity. It's now not just a platform to showcase great art - there is a strategic thematic strain running right through the fair. What is very impressive is all the adjunct activity going on, whether it's the Platform exhibits, the confluence of technology and art, or the manner in which people are being encouraged to participate. It is participatory art democracy of the finest kind. You don't see that in South Asia. What i love is that the theme has been tightened to South Asia, because then you create a point of discrimination compared to the 250-odd art fairs that happen all over the world, so I think it's very very impressive, very timely, and something that will draw not just art lovers but all people who need to be exposed to the arts."
This shared purpose to promote cultural discourse in South Asia is supported by the acclaimed Speakers’ Forum which will run from Friday until Sunday, presenting a broad and exciting programme of artists, curators, critics, administrators, academics, gallerists and collectors. Highlights include Richard Armstrong (Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums and Foundation), Sheena Wagstaff (Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Manuel Rabaté (Director, Louvre Abu Dhabi) on the panel The Future of Museums; H.E. Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi (President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation) and Frédéric de Goldschmidt (Private Collector) on Collectors in Conversation: The Art of Collecting; Simon Rein (Project Manager for Google Cultural Institute) with JaiJai Fei (Digital Director at the Jewish Museum, New York) on the panel When Technology meets Art, and Boon-Hui Tan (Director, Asia Society Museum) on a panel on Perspectives from Networks of South Asian Art.
India Art Fair would be welcoming public visitors over the next three days including a number of groups from over 32 schools that will participate in the art fair's first ever curated children's programme.
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