India Art Fair: Highlighting sub continental art

Staff Correspondent
Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Art has become a global lingo. The language has gradually become one of the most communicative expressions in the cultural world. As a result, it makes a bridge between nation and nation, artists and artists and people and people.


India Art Fair (2013) of its fifth edition signifies that how the art is related to time and space. The fair was held from February 1 to 3 at NSIC Exhibition Grounds, Okhla Industrial Estate, New Delhi in India. The fair brought together 105 galleries from 24 countries showcasing 1000 artists from India and across the globe. The fair brought together a vibrant set of galleries, artists and curators, featured a range of modern and contemporary art practices by recognised and promising artists in painting, sculpture, installation and performing art.


For Bangladesh, this year’s fair was very significant in that Samdani Art Foundation (Bangladesh) represented four contemporary Bangladeshi artists like Mahbubur Rahman, Tayeba Begum Lipi, Mohammad Wahiduzzaman and Ayesha Sultana. The participation has given an opportunity for the artists to find a place in international platform. Last year, Samdani Art Foundation organised Dhaka Art Summit which was critically acclaimed by the international art circuit. Among the Bangladeshi artists, Mohammad  Wahiduzzaman and Mahbubur Rahman’s works were focused for their distinctive presentations. Wahiduzzaman is one of the gifted artists in the generation, who won the Grand Prize Winner of the 14th edition of Asian Biennale. The artist is greatly inspired by Pop Art and his works denote varied social, political and cultural dilemmas. At the fair, his conceptual based installation focused two female visages which depict our dual characters. One face symbolises a pretty face and other denotes a saddened face. The artist feels that we always present women as a commercial commodity in different trailers. Women have been used products in varied circumstances. This is one of the foremost reasons why mistreatment of women is a regular feature in our society.


At the fair, India’s most famous painters attracted plenty of attention. Nandalal Bose, Tyeb Mehta, MF Husain, Jamini Roy, Paritosh Sen, SH Raza, FN Souza, Akbar Padamsee, Sunil Das, Shomnath Hore and others legendary painters’ works were seen in a number of art galleries in Delhi, Kolkata, UK, Singapore and New York.


Delhi Art Gallery, one of the foremost participating galleries in the fair, demonstrated a number of painters of Calcutta Group and Bombay Progressive Artists Group (Delhi). The gallery has become distinguished for its focus on 20th century Indian art. Its collections range from the early-moderns to the moderns, including all the masters and contemporary artists.


At the fair, SH Raza is the lone surviving member of the six founders of the path-breaking Bombay Progressive Artists Group, which shaped the course of Modern art in India. He is best known for his recognised series of paintings titled “Bindu”—a symbol of celestial and artistic imagination. At the fair, his oil painting “Untitled” represents his towards fascination for gestural abstraction. The painting is engrossed with amorphous forms and vivid colours. The painter was an expatriate of France but has since moved to New Delhi to live and work.  Tyeb Mehta’s “Blue Torso” depicts a disfigured female with a soulful expression. Red, white, blue and black have been used accordingly to the subject’s requirement.


At the fair, Ganesh Pyne creates eerie images of distressing figures and terrible ambiance that illustrate our attention to a world beyond the familiar. He draws very few and keen collectors wait over the years for a single peace of his creation.


Jogen Chowdhury’s works were on display a number of galleries like Gallerie Ganesha (New Delhi), Ganges Art Gallery (Kolkata), Art Alive Gallery (New Delhi) and others. At the fair, most of his paintings portray floral imagery, female and male figures, as well as organic forms. The painter is widely acknowledged to be, the master of the unbroken lines and distortion has been most significant aspect in his works.


Akar Prakar (Kolkata) Gallery demonstrated Somnath Hore prints. His prints feature the downtrodden, particularly the disadvantaged community. Their destitution and struggles are recurring subjects of his works. He portrayed exploited people in his prints. Most of his prints are technically outstanding and he made great efforts toward demonstrating the torments of the masses. It can be easily said that the prints are visual narratives and that the artist felt it from the bottom of his soul.


Exhibit 320—the gallery demonstrated a Delhi based young artist Sachin George Sebastian. His concern in constructed space and everyday life lived within it means that he is a keen watcher of the visions of contemporary life. He has worked with archival paper and he has created floral, architectural and structural imageries. The artist states “Over the last few years, I have been working on the idea of metropolis and city-planners. Being in a city and going through its changes, I am always in search for a reason of why several others and I are being attracted to city culture.”


Mumbai based artist Jitish Kallat’s “Covering Letter”—a hazy screen project, which was one of the much attraction in the fair. He is one of the most energetic Asian artists to have received international recognition in recent years. Working across a variety of media, his conceptual work mirrors an insightful involvement with the city, where he was born and raised up. At the fair, he has used different materials like fiberglass frames and tinted light bulbs.

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