Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 670 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The 2023 edition of the India Art Fair wraps up today at the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi. See Part I of our coverage here, and earlier photo essays of the IAF editions from 2022 and 2020.
In partnership with BMW India, the four-day event features 71 galleries and 14 cultural institutions. It has drawn art lovers, curators and collectors from across the country and abroad.
“The India Art Fair never fails to surprise the audience with its scale and scope. Breaking away from defined canon of paintings, the fair has witnessed an increased appreciation towards mixed media installations,” says Urvi Kothari, Gallery Manager, Tao Art Gallery in a chat with YourStory.
As trends in Indian art, she points to the surge in a contemporary spin on indigenous textiles. These include small cloth potlis by Hema Shironi at Saskia Fernando, woven thread dangles in Anne Samat’s installation at Marc Straus, hand embroidery by T Venkanna at Gallery Maskara, and Avinash Veeraraghavan at GallerySKE.
“Another trend that has grabbed my attention has been the collaborative effort between art and design. Some eclectic furniture pieces have marked a statement amidst the contemporary and modern art roster,” Urvi observes.
Examples of such collaboration feature T Venkanna and Rooshad Shroff at Maskara; Vikram Studio’s collection; and Ashiesh Shah’s Naga Chair at Experimenter.
At the fair, Tao Art Gallery showcases Kolkata-based artist Viraj Khanna. “Creativity is not inborn, it’s something you work on and get better the more you try,” Viraj explains. His works represent a wide range of themes and types, including collage, embroidery, textiles, and sculptural forms created out of fiberglass.
Artist: Viraj Khanna
“The curation includes a selection of his intricately hand-embroidered textile installations with a pop of colour, some barbed humour, and a hit of funk,” Urvi poetically describes.
The body of works extends a contemporary spin to hand-embroidered techniques such as aari and zardozi. “They add a social commentary on the gram-able society we live in,” Urvi jokes.
The journey for artists is often full of twists and turns, setbacks and comebacks. “I think there are no ‘mistakes’ in an artist’s creative journey. Well! There can be experimentation,” she describes.
“But each artistic creation extends to the end goal in the overall trajectory. At every step, an artist’s journey is full of key learnings. Implementing these takeaways is crucial and becomes integral for long-term growth,” Urvi affirms.
The 2023 fair represents the second post-pandemic edition. “While the world shut down and confinement within a space now sounds absurd and difficult to imagine in a post-Covid era, it was a time of reflection and deep introspection for the artist community,” she recalls.
Many artists even found solace and inspiration during the tough times. “As a result, we have witnessed some very interesting creative outputs, especially at this fair,” Urvi adds.
“This year, the India Art Fair has some landmark art installations that have genuinely grabbed my attention,” she says. In particular, she points to Raqib Shaw’s miniature paintings at KNMA, Anish Kapoor and Nikhil Chopra at Aicon, Shilpa Gupta at Vadehra Art Gallery, and Subodh Gupta at Nature Morte.
Urvi signs off: “It has been a fulfilling well-curated experience with immersive workshops and engaging talks!”
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?
(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the fair.)
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Edited by Kanishk Singh