Last year, the capital was witness to renowned artist Anish Kapoor's first show in his home country. Then it was the government that firmed up its plans to give Delhi its own ‘Tate'. The New Year has begun with a promise to boost the capital's appetite for art: the India Art Summit (IAS) 2011 begins on January 21 at Pragati Maidan, showcasing the work of 570 artists. And this year's event is touted to be even bigger than the previous editions.
Thirty-four galleries from 20 countries are bringing in artworks from across the globe; and the organizers say the aim is to cut across geographies and give the capital a taste of world art. "There is a range of young emerging artists as well as top modern and contemporaries on show," says Neha Kirpal, director of the three-day-long summit. So, what's there for art enthusiasts and buyers? TOI takes a look.
Stars To Descend
Well-known artists such as S H Raza, Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Krishen Khanna will be present at the event and also interact with visitors. A session with Raza, who has returned to India after six decades, will be one of the fair's highlights.
Galleries are bringing in the works of stalwarts in European modern art such as Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and Henry Moore. The speaker programme has representatives from 13 international museums. Among them are Sheena Wagstaff, chief curator of the Tate Modern, London, and James Cuno, president, Art Institute, Chicago, which is the second largest art museum in the US.
Lessons in Art
The IAS is organizing guided walks, which will have students and curators guiding small groups of people through the fair spread out over an area of 4,500 sq m. "The idea behind this is to encourage people who like art but never ask questions even though they want to," says Kirpal. The guides will talk about everything from different art techniques to pointing out works of possible interest to newbie collectors.
Art For The People
Apart from the sprouts near the AIIMS flyover and the recent Artiger project (some of the tigers will also be relocated to the summit grounds), there are not too many public artworks in Delhi. The fair promises to provide an exciting space for public art/interactive projects. In their project called ‘Book of Imaginary Zoology', artists Sarnath Banerjee and Samit Basu will create a book of imaginary beings that inhabit Delhi. They will start by identifying stereotypical characters of the city and mutate them into monsters that live amidst common people and lurk unrecognized within their immediate consciousness. From a juice-seller in Kalkaji to a petty bureaucrat at the Nirman Bhavan, the North Indian personality is shaped by Djinns, they say. In the project, Sarnath Banerjee will have exchanges with fellow artists Pushpamala N, Shreyas Karle, Aditya Pande and Gigi Scaria, through drawings, photographs or sentences that will lead to a response, and the final story will then be expanded on the wall.
The fair promises to bring some affordable art with an eye on the young collector. There will be works priced at Rs 10,000, and galleries are also bringing in smaller sized works of big artists at lower prices. Therefore, the fair will have something for everybody.
Shopping in Store
The art store will stock funky art merchandise and over 300 art books.
This is the first time that the fair has a separate programme for VIP guests aimed at encouraging young collectors to experience more art, and for international visitors to experience Indian culture. There are plenty of events lined up for the afterhours where galleries would let their best art and champagne flow.
Note: (The India Art Summit is on from Jan 21 to Jan 23 at Pragati Maidan. Entry fee is Rs 200).