Galleries and Collectors Applaud Inaugural Art Mumbai
India's financial capital welcomed the art fair's arrival, which many saw as long overdue.
Art Mumbai 2023. Courtesy Art Mumbai.
Mumbai's ambitious new art fair is here. Art Mumbai featured 53 galleries from India and beyond at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse from 16 to 19 November.
With a sculpture garden to greet visitors, and one or two lucky booths overlooking the racecourse, the fair was well received.
The excitement was palpable on opening day. Galleries across India were particularly thrilled to meet new clients in the country's financial capital.
For those rooted in Mumbai, the sentiment was one of gratitude as they revelled in their local advantage. Many expressed their delight at sharing this experience with friends and family who would not typically travel for a fair, but could now experience one in their city for the first time in their collecting journeys.
Art Mumbai separated modern and contemporary works of art in two distinct tents.
The tent showcasing modern art featured over 15 galleries including Aicon Gallery from New York, Mumbai's Akara Modern, Delhi's DAG, and London's Grosvenor Gallery. The tent for contemporary art, meanwhile, featured over 30 galleries, such as Experimenter from Kolkata, Jhaveri Contemporary from Mumbai, and Nature Morte and Vadehra Art Gallery from New Delhi.
Overall, galleries Ocula Magazine spoke to were very satisfied with sales. For the majority, sales paralleled those of established fairs within and beyond the country.
The resounding narrative that echoed throughout booths in both tents was that Mumbai was long overdue for its own fair.
Co-founder of Art Mumbai, Dinesh Vazirani said, 'We are delighted by the enthusiasm we've received from the art community, even when the fair was just in its nascent stage, and are proud to be associated with gallerists, artists, collectors, and other members of the art world who share our conviction in the immense potential of India's growing art market.'
Fairgoers crowned New Delhi's Vadehra Art Gallery booth, titled Read and Reflect and curated by Anish Gawande, the best booth at Art Mumbai 2023. Featuring works by Atul Dodiya, Gauri Gill, Gieve Patel, and Zaam Arif, the curator says he envisioned the creation of a space that brings back memories of Bombay's fabled 'reading rooms'.
The busiest booths were Experimenter and Jhaveri Contemporary, though others also saw steady traffic.
Nature Morte showcased artists such as Alicja Kwade, Bharti Kher, Jitish Kallat and Tanya Goel, with works ranging from U.S. $1,000–160,000. Co-Director of Nature Morte, Aparajita Jain, said she thinks Art Mumbai is going to get 'bigger and better every year'.
Of the galleries displaying modern art, DAG presented national treasures Raja Ravi Varma and Jamini Roy, among works by other stellar artists. Akara Modern presented some exceptionally rare watercolours by Sunayani Devi and an untitled work by Amrita Sher-Gil, all made in the 1920s, among works by other artists.
The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) presented a poignant tribute to artist Vivan Sundaram (1943–2023) titled Re-Take, Re-Cycle, Re-Live. The display eloquently mapped out the trajectory of Sundaram's art journey across five decades of fiercely experimental practice.
Curator Roobina Karode said, 'The viewers will get a sense that practice is not uniform. It is disparate, transformative, and transitive all the time. That is the takeaway I want people to have.'
When asked about her thoughts on the significance of Art Mumbai, Founder of KNMA and revered collector, Kiran Nadar said, 'I think it's an important platform for emerging and established artists to gain visibility which can lead to increased recognition, opportunities for collaboration, and potential market expansion.'
'Bringing in collectors and curators from around the world will also enhance the global standing of Indian art,' she said. —[O]