India Art Festival which happened in Delhi for the second consecutive year was a major hit among people.
By Renu Singh
Art a masterwork or of a budding artist, longs for attention, admiration and respect. With an aim to establish proper dialogue and collaboration between artists, art galleries, buyers and connoisseur; India Art Festival was organised at the Thyagraj stadium in Delhi for the second consecutive year on January 19. Woman’s Era was the media partner to event that endeavous to support artists and various art forms.
The four-day festival was a modern and contemporary art fair featuring over 400 artists, from the likes of M F Husain, Seema Kohli, Satish Gujral to Wajid Khan, Srikala G Reddy and Anindita Bhattacharya among upcoming ones. A total of 35 galleries from 25 cities and six different countries participated in Delhi chapter this year. While the main pavilion hosted the country’s major and mid-level galleries, the artists’ pavilion gave emerging artists a chance to exhibit their creations.
The fair was inaugurated by minister of youth affairs and sports Vijay Goel, sculpturist Ram Sutra, artist D.P. Sibbal and Additional Directorate General, Doordarshan, Deepa Chandra. It is observed that art fairs are gradually gaining popularity over exhibitions put up by private or public art galleries. When asked about the changing trend, Rajendra, founder and managing director, IAF (India Art Festival) shared, “Art galleries have their own importance, artists gain popularity from their association with them. Art fairs are for masses, they create campaign to spread awareness about art. A group or solo shows by art galleries have limited outreach whereas in art fairs, 40-50 art galleries participate simultaneously, showcasing the work of hundreds of artists. Besides that art fairs have lively atmosphere to promote various art forms through a single platform. An art lover might feel hesitant in visiting a solo or group exhibition when not invited, but in art fair there is no such limitation, it is a public event open to all.”
One of the highlights of fair was a gallery exhibiting nail art by Wajid Khan. Nail art is an art of hammering iron nails into hard acrylic sheet to create unimaginable portraits or abstracts with fine details of facial expressions. There was a portrait of child displayed at the gallery dedicated to ‘Save The Girl Child’ cause, created with medical equipments like scissors, injection, blood pressure machine etc. Talking about his unconventional artform Wajid Khan shared, “I have been doing it from year 2002. Earlier I used to make Robots for colleges and universities when a professor from IIM Ahmedabad, Anil Gupta suggested me to try hand at art. Around 90% artist are either doing sculpture or canvas. I wanted to do something different, so I started doing nail art. My first portrait of Mahatma Gandhi was sold in year 2007 and until 2010 I had spent most of my life living on footpath. My association with art gallery The Masterpiece helped me to spread my reach internationally. Currently I am making portrait of Queen Elizabeth ll, which will be presented to her by an NGO in London.”
It was overwhelming to notice aspiring young artists making beeline in front of art galleries to learn intricacies of an art form from established masters. An art gallery from IIT Bombay students was very inspiring for the young lot. Tanisha Bakshi, probably the youngest artist in fair expressed immense pleasure to be able to participate for the second consecutive year in Delhi, “The experience has been overwhelming. And this year I tried to showcase the happiness in slum life through my work. My maid is an inspiration behind it.”
Then there was another gallery in fair dedicated to feminism. Yash Kohli while talking about her work shared, “Women are still suppressed, imprisoned by society norms, and men. I have shown the white doves in paintings, which means we have to fight for our rights and freedom,” she said.
Art spaces from across the country like Arts of the Earth, Studio3, Forum Art Gallery, Studio 55, Café & Art Gallery and Gnani Arts had their best paintings, drawings and sculptures on display, making for a truly attractive show. Srikala G Reddy an artist from Bengaluru exhibited her artwork, based on the life of Nrityagram dancers. “Nritiyagram is a village in outskirt of Bengaluru where teacher and student live together and learn dance. So when I saw their dance I wanted to capture their desire to learn the dance. Show their expressions, postures etc. I have used oil painting and charcoal on paper. The best thing about such festivals is you get to interact with likeminded people and it becomes a very enriching experience.”
For people who can’t afford the original painting, serigraphs were also put on display at the fair. The serigraph is based on an original painting, but sometimes not an exact duplication in size and appearance. There was also a gallery dedicated to Mughal Mirror painting.
Thanjavur painting characterised by vivid colors, glittering gold foils, extensive gesso work and pieces of precious and semi-precious gems displayed at a gallery remained the centre of attraction of people. A curator from the gallery Chandar Kumar shared, “These paintings are made with natural vegetable colors and belong to 1960s era. When palaces where destructed after the exit of Britishers from India, these paintings were transferred to private houses and we collected them from there. Mostly these huge paintings are collected from Mysore and people were astounded by the piece.”
India Art Festival is the only multi-city art fair in India that presents two annual editions in two different cities: Mumbai and New Delhi. India Art Festival is an initiative of Kalavishkar, an organization that endeavours to democratize Indian Art. IAF facilitates artists to build bond with art dealers, collectors and buyers. And their endeavours have been immensely successful.
A staunch supporter
Lexicon art was the very first art gallery at the fair that caught the attention of visitors. The gallery exhibited perfect blend of artwork by senior as well as upcoming artists. The colours of the canvases, poses of the sculptures and the other art forms were all perfectly displayed. Giving detailed description about the artists and their work was Mamta Nath, founder of The Lexicon Art. “Our objective is to become a repository of different art forms from all over the world.
We just don’t promote senior artists but budding talent as well. It is a continuing exercise into the collection of good art, which carries a message and represents hues of our civilization. For the second time experience of participating in India Art Festival in Delhi has been great. The fair I think did reasonably well, I will say better than the expectation. After demonetization this is the first big art festival happening in Delhi.” Talking about the response of the visitors to the fair, she said, “Well, the responses of the visitors were mixed. I feel if you don’t have the understanding of artwork nothing else matters. Artists need admiration more than anything else. It’s not just about how much you are getting or selling, but a lot about promotion of artists and their work.”