It’s that time of the year again when art enthusiasts from all around the country, and the world, gather in the capital city to celebrate the modern and contemporary art landscape of India.
India Art Fair is back with what it’s claiming to be its “most ambitious showcase yet”. IAF director Jaya Asokan backs the claim saying, “This edition is the largest to date. The scale and diversity of the fair in 2023 reflect the expansion of the contemporary and modern art market across India and South Asia, as well as burgeoning interest from the international community.”
One of the reasons why Asokan feels this year packs a bigger punch than before is the Digital Artist In Residence Program introduced in the Studio section of the fair. “This is something new for us and we feel that digital art is the future. It’s not going to replace traditional art forms, but it is very much a part of the conversation in 2023. So IAF is really the first place to discover and reflect on new artists‘ ideas but also technologies in terms of the South Asian art scene.”
Last year’s edition platformed traditional art forms and artists through its, aptly titled, Platform section. Asokan says this year’s focus is both on the past and the present. The fair will play host to contemporary masters of traditional art forms, including Warli (Vayeda brothers), Gond (Dhavat Singh), Madhubani (A.K. Jha and Padma Shri Baua Devi), Pattachitra (Prakash Chandra), Kalamkari art (S. Srinivas Rao), Bhil traditions (Padma Shri awardee Bhuri Bai) and Chamba Rumal (Charu Centre run by DCC) amongst others.
“The Vayeda Brothers, who are Worli artists, have done a contemporary intervention on the facade. So we feel we’ve gotten bigger and better where it’s not just inside the halls, but even the facade itself has that traditional element to it,” says Asokan.
Asokan came on board as IAF’s director in 2021 and shifted the focus of the event from a four-day format to a year-round showcase around different parts of the country. “We’ve done collector events in Calcutta and Baroda, and we’re really extending it beyond the four days of the fair with active programming pan-India, that is probably where I wish to take IAF. We started in a small way, the last quarter of last year and we hope to build on that this year.”
India Art Fair takes place from 9-12th February at the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi.