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India Art Fair held in New Delhi | Coastweek

NEW DELHI India -- India Art Fair held in New Delhi, is South Asia’s leading art fair for modern and contemporary art from across the world. Spread over four days from 30 January (Preview Day) – 2 February 2014, the most recent edition featured 91 exhibiting booths and 1000 artist from around the world comprising of 50 per cent international and 50 per cent Indian galleries.

Kul Bhushan: The Humour, Satire and Quirkiness of Indian Art

By Kul Bhushan, NEW DELHI India -- Indian art has come of age with her artists arriving on world stage, selling their artworks for millions of dollars and organising a world class Indian Art Fair in New Delhi.

The artworks at the sixth edition of this event just con concluded displayed humour, satire, quirkiness and, of course, imagination.

On entering the main hall, an exhibit showed Mahatma Gandhi sitting before a circular Coca Cola logo.

More intriguing was the Mahatma working on his spinning wheel painted a stack of Coca Cola bottle crates!

Another such exhibit showed the Dalai Lama’s face on these crates.

A mobile sculpture by L. N. Tallur showed the mid-life crises of a stone-faced woman squatting in front of a spinning car tyre smeared with mud splattered all over her and on her face.

It was titled Path Finder! Here was the rat race offering a humourous version of the spiritual seeker.

In all her glory, the Hindu Goddess Saraswati is painted atop a rubber duck! A clothes line had some garments hung to dry but the twist was all the garments were made of small, shiny steel balls!

In addition, jewellery designer Nirav Modi, art-deco furniture, off-beat exhibits like audio experiences, a desktop computer cut in half and its screen showing a newscast stopped visitors in their tracks!

Around 100,000 visitors admired the works of Indian artists and was also surprised by works of Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol and Andre Masson on display. Renowned Indian painters like M. F. Husain, Jamini Roy, S. H. Raza, Dayanita Singh, L.N.Tallur, Anindita Dutta and Rajorshi Gosh and F. N. Souza, sculptures by Anish Kapoor and Subodh Gupta attracted his attention.

The fair showcased over 3,000 works by 1,000 artists by 81 exhibitors across the globe. The Fair attracts around 100,000 collectors, art lovers and critics from all over India and abroad.

Major art auctioneers, Christie’s, a sponsor of this fair, and Southby’s were also involved. Other art events are also timed with this fair.


Former Kenya Journalist, Editor, Author, Publisher and a Media Consultant, Kul Bhushan has worked at senior levels in different countries and continents for over 40 years with international and multi-national organizations.


He now lives with his large  



family (all sannyasins) in New Delhi and edits the English edition of Osho World monthly magazine. He has written 24 books, including one in calligraphy called ‘Treasures of the Hindu Way of Life’ that features quotes by Osho.


The National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi opened an exhibition of renowned artist Amrita Sher Gill’s definitive works; Sotheby’s held a reception to showcase their paintings for their forthcoming auction in London; and many Indian artists held their shows.

Subodh Gupta’s Aura was a ceiling-high sculpture made from stainless steel utensils illuminated with a great many tube lights in a big jumble.

The light created an illusion that foreshadows the emptiness of things- big and small.

The stainless steel utensils with their towering presence are placed in perspective by the strong white light.

The illuminated illusion conveys the make-believe prosperity of the new middle class.

"Seems like the loft of a utensil shop," commented a visitor.

A golden deer about six-foot high caught the eyes of every passerby reminding them about the style of Damien Hirst.

One visitor remarked, "Is this the deer that Sita wanted in Ramayana?"

A curved mirror with a huge garland distorted faces of everyone who looked at it. No wonder many people captured their crazy ‘selfies’ or self-photos.

A similar exhibit was a mirror that showed your face upside down!

Across the main exhibition halls was a hall with art shops, refreshments and sundries.

Bang in the middle of these shops selling art books, art materials, art magazines, costume jewellery and refreshment stalls with tea, coffee and snacks was a huge circular artwork.

Titled ‘If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him’ it was created by Yo Hongxing, a Chinese artist, and showed a black Buddha sitting in the lotus posture, deep in meditation, surrounded by very colourful textiles, stickers, glass beads and toys used on a canvas and wood panels.

Dazzling the visitor with image overload, it shows the influence of mass media, pop culture, architecture, environment and landscapes of East and West.

The artist from Beijing says this work shows swift change of China’s social system. It is also a satire on Asia’s fast evolving social, financial, environmental and technological systems.

NEW DELHI India -- The India Art Fair continues to be one of the worlds most attended events of its kind, attracting over 400,000 people since its inception. It included a line up of 24 unique art projects, a wide range of curated walks, a first edition of Mentor and Protégé Program, a Museums showcasing at the fair, Influential voices to cater to varied audience of art enthusiasts at the Speakers’ Forum and an extensive VIP programme across Delhi to provide a holistic cultural experience.

Next to speakers’ forum is a ten-foot high head of a baby Chintu or Smart Alec called Iconic Shrine Lost Soul.

With its mouth open and shining big blue eyes, its chrome yellow face is covered by many images that change as one goes around it.

The artist, Chintan Upadhyay, claims it is lost head of Ganesha before it was cut off by his father, Shiva and later replaced with an elephant’s head.

The huge fiberglass head has traditional Shekhwati art-form images from Rajasthan.

Intrigues, many visitors wanted to click their photos with this enigmatic, cute baby.

The different venues for lectures and seminars go on during the four-day fair.

Renowned art critics, dealers, experts, auctioneers, dealers and professors address the various sessions.

Many of these sessions are well-attended with lively discussions and debates.

Surprisingly, the director of this humungous exhibition is a young lady from Delhi, Neha Kirpal.

The story goes that in 2008 she visited London while working for a PR and event management firm.

She was awed by London’s happening feverish art scene with 9,000 galleries.

She wondered, Why not have am art fair for Delhi?

During a flight, she wrote the business plan on the back of an airsickness bag, got off the plane and convinced her employers to loan her ten million Rupees to create the Art Summit.

The first show in 2008 was called India Art Summit at Pragati Maidan showgrounds in New Delhi for modern and contemporary art.

The first fair targeted over 6,000 visitors with 34 exhibiting galleries at the fair, and over 550 contemporary and modern artworks.

This first show managed to attract local art galleries on one big hall but the next event was much bigger with more Indian and international participation from Britain, France, Spain, USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy and many other countries.

Before this Fair, Mumbai was the premium centre for Indian art shows but this event has changed all that and now many galleries from Mumbai exhibit here because they cannot be left out of such an important event on the international circuit that generates good business.

After another two years of steady growth, increased participation and attendance, the venue was shifted to NSIC ground in Okhla.

This is a much bigger space with state-of-the art German tents that are transformed into custom built halls over 12,000 square meters by a British event management company.

Its slick presentation and organization makes one wonder if this event is being held in some western country.

The numbers of exhibitors, artists and visitors has kept on increasing every year except in 2010 when there was no event.

Neha Kirpal, the current owner of the India Art Fair divested 49 per cent of its stake in early 2011 to two stakeholders, Sandy Angus and Will Ramsay, co-founders of the Hong Kong Art Fair, to create a larger network.

The fair is judged by the caliber of the visitors. Before it is inaugurated, receptions are held for collectors and foreign visitors.

During the four-day event, buyers, VIP visitors and art aficionados are allowed and the fair is open to the public after lunch.

The entry fee is high at Rs. 300 (around three pounds sterling) per person although art students come at a much lower entry fee. Going round the fair, you see elegantly dressed people talking art in soft tones and keenly admiring the art on display.

The three main halls have their own cafes and meeting places and public seating for those get tired. It is all very sophisticated, unlike most Indian public events.

During its six events, the fair has managed to exhibit and facilitate the sale of many world renowned artists like Picasso, Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Miró, Marc Chagall,Marina Abramovic, M. F. Husain, S H Raza, F.N. Souza,Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, Anjolie Ela Menon and Thota Vaikuntam.

She says, "The audience response to what they relate to. Over the years, the Fair has become the audience’s fair. Forty percent of our first-time buyers come from smaller cities of India."


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