India Art Fair Returns in April Under New Director Jaya Asokan
The fair was cancelled in 2020 prior to what one gallery director described as India's 'war' with Covid-19.
Jelili Atiku, Nobody is Born Wise at India Art Fair 2020. Courtesy the artist and India Art Fair.
The 13th edition of the India Art Fair will take place at New Delhi's NSIC Exhibition Grounds from 28 April to 1 May 2022. The fair was initially scheduled for 3 to 6 February 2022 but was postponed due to the pandemic.
International galleries Aicon Art (New York), Grosvenor Gallery (London), and neugerriemschneider (Berlin) will join leading Indian galleries such as Experimenter (Kolkata), Jhaveri Contemporary (Mumbai), Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke (Mumbai), and Nature Morte (New Delhi).
Altogether, 75 exhibitors will participate in the fair, including 62 galleries and 13 institutions. The event will be directed by Jaya Asokan for the first time following her appointment in April 2021.
'The 2022 fair will welcome participants that extend beyond the traditional art hubs of New Delhi and Mumbai, such as Kolkata, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad,' Asokan said.
Seven Indian galleries will make their debuts at the 2022 fair: APRE Art House (Mumbai), Art Incept (Gurugram / New Delhi), Frangipani Art Gallery (Ahmedabad), Gallery Art Exposure (Kolkata), Modern Art Gallery (New Delhi), Ojas Art (New Delhi), and Vida Heydari Contemporary (Pune).
Like many fairs around the world, the event was cancelled in 2021 due to Covid-19. In May, India recorded over 400,000 new cases on a single day, stretching medical resources to the limit.
At the time, Experimenter's Prateek Raja described the situation as 'heartbreaking, inhuman and downright shameful,' while Nature Morte's Aparajita Jain said it had become 'like war'.
Yesterday, active cases in India had declined to 92,281, the fewest in 560 days.
'During the past year, we have been heartened to see a broadly collaborative spirit in the Indian art world with everyone from artists, gallerists and institutions to grassroots foundations and festivals creating creative, mentoring, and funding opportunities for each other,' Asokan told Ocula Magazine.
'We are excited to see an unprecedented number of non-profit organisations participating in the fair, including Artdemic and The Gujral Foundation who led an open call to select an artist who will design India Art Fair's colossal façade, Serendipity Arts Foundation (Goa), Kochi Biennale Foundation (Kochi) and Space118 (Baroda) who will present newly commissioned large outdoor art projects by artists who received grants during the pandemic,' she added.
India Art Fair 2022 will also include a colossal mural by the women and trans-women collective Aravani Art Project and a presentation of NFTs by Terrain.Art, a blockchain-powered online platform focused on South Asian art.
Asokan said she is eager to expand India Art Fair from a four-day event to a year-round programme of editorial, films, online talks, workshops, and artist spotlights.
'The past year has taught us that technology is essential, so why not use it to educate, engage and inspire audiences?' she asks.
The programme is ambitious, but Asokan has her reasons for going big.
'I truly believe India is at its tipping point, and poised for immense opportunity and growth,' she said. —[O]