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India Art Fair is back: Here’s all that you need to know

Check out what's happening at India Art Fair this time around.
India Art fair

“The landmark 15th edition of India Art Fair (IAF) comes at an exciting time for both the South Asian art scene and the market, with artists from the region becoming a part of international conversations as never before,” says Jaya Asokan, Fair Director at the India Art Fair. The art fair is scheduled to return to the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi from 1 to 4 February 2024 with a renewed focus on amplifying exciting artists from the region and supporting the expansion of South Asian creativity. Apart from the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which is an international exhibition of contemporary art in Kerala, it is the India Art Fair that has art collectors, curators and art lovers from India excited in anticipation each year. Since its inception in 2008, IAF has managed to establish a well-rounded reputation for itself, mainly because of its tireless dedication and commitment to championing the work of South Asian art and artists. 

What’s happening at India Art Fair 2024? 

Led in partnership with BMW India, India Art Fair 2024 is set to be their biggest edition yet. It will feature 100 exhibitors, including 71 galleries, 7 design studios, along with the participation of major regional art institutions. The fair is also said to be welcoming 26 new exhibitors, including 10 first-time South Asian institutional participants, that is a part of its mission to celebrate and further support the arts ecosystem in the region. The fair’s inaugural design section will also host pioneering designers and studios, spanning collectible furniture, jewellery and fabrics, with a strong emphasis on contemporary interventions into traditional craftsmanship.

Building on the growth of the Indian art market and economy at large, the 2024 edition of the fair is also aiming at seeing its greatest international participation yet, with 18 international galleries and institutions exhibiting and several leaders of global arts organisations confirmed to participate in the fair’s talks programme, making it a global meeting ground for collectors, curators and art professionals, and strengthening cultural dialogue and ties with the wider international art scene.

The Talks Programme will feature pathbreaking artists and thinkers including Rana Begum, Jitish Kallat, Vikram Goyal, Michael Govan, Ashiesh Shah and Shanay Jhaveri, among other leading voices on art, culture and design in South Asia and beyond. Apart from the indoor programming, the India Art Fair is also set to host a series of ambitious outdoor projects, these include an interactive installation by India Art Fair x MTArt Agency Artist Prize winner—Sajid Wajid Shaikh, an immersive ‘mountain landscape’ by Skarma Sonam Tashi and Philipp Frank, which is being presented by sā Ladakh and The German Embassy, and the Fair facade, designed by the iconic artist duo, Thukral & Tagra, among many more.

Apart from these events, the 2024 edition is set to host workshops curated by Learning through Arts, Narrative and Discourse (LAND) and inclusivity sessions curated by Access for All, which will address the fair’s young visitors, art pedagogists, visitors with disabilities, and anyone looking to experience the thrill of creativity.

India Art Fair 2024

Source: India Art Fair

What’s new at India Art Fair 2024?

Reflecting on the new era in the art world, where South Asian art continues to gain recognition and popularity both locally and internationally. As well as the growing shift towards the use of technology in the art world. The India Art Fair will feature a design section that exists at the cusp of the interaction of art, technology, new media and interactive installations. “We are thrilled to launch our very first design section and to welcome a diversity of creative talent from across India and the broader region. I look forward to welcoming new and old friends to the fair,” comments Asokan. 

Showcasing South Asian design, the first ever design section of the India Art Fair will highlight the exciting contemporary design scene emerging in South Asia. The section is set to feature limited edition and hand-made collectible design by studios that are paying homage to and redefining the century-long tradition of craft in the region. 

Recognising the strength of India’s local talent as well as the burgeoning global interest in India as a design destination, the inaugural design participants include—Vikram Goyal from New Delhi who is bringing collectible design brass objects that translate the rich legacy of craft excellence from India into contemporary designs. Atelier Ashiesh Shah from Mumbai which is transcending the boundaries of art, design, and architecture, and draws inspiration from Indian culture and tribal philosophy to create collectibles through collaboration with craftsmen. De Gournay, based in London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Beirut, Shanghai, known for special edition hand-embroidered and hand-painted wallpapers, among others.

This edition will also witness the debut of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, for which they are collaborating with designer Ashiesh Shah. Working around the theme of ‘Querencia,’ a Spanish word that describes a place where one feels safe, a home that serves as a source of strength and inspiration. The curation will include celebrated artists like Wendell Castle, Nacho Carbonell, Ingrid Donat and Karl Lagerfeld as well as emerging talents. Rajasthan-based Studio Raw Material, which is a collaboration between Priyanka Sharma and Dushyant Bansal, will also be exhibiting at the booth. Shah will also unveil his pieces in conjunction with the gallery featuring a significant showcase of timeless pieces and contemporary Indian crafts.

India Art fair

Source: India Art Fair

But does art matter?

Back in 2019, a banana duct-taped to the wall and priced at the humble price of $120,000 at Miami’s Art Basel had the internet in a frenzy. It was on X (formerly Twitter), on Instagram and a talking point at any party you ended up at during that week. In 2023, a Korean student ate the banana artwork, claiming he was ‘hungry.’ The ridiculousness of the entire feat might have one believe that contemporary art is exactly this, an inexplicable display of rich art hungry connoisseurs trying to prove a point. A display of wealth, so categorically far removed from the masses. But as renowned pop-art genius Andy Warhol claimed, “Art is anything you can get away with.” Whether you love it or hate, it is subjective.

In a post-pandemic world as well as a world torn apart by genocidal and tyrannical regimes, the way we consume art too has shifted. It has now become clear more than ever before that art matters. That it becomes a tool of resistance, a finger to the oppressors. When the government of Israel banned the use of the Palestinian flag back in 2006, artists started using just the colours of the flag for their sceneries. Proving that art continues to persist and matter.

Within the context of the Indian art scene, the last edition of the India Art Fair featured an Iran-inspired interactive video installation drawing attention to the politics of hair. In conversation with Morung Express, Swati Bhattacharya, the film writer behind ‘Hair and Her’ along with photographer Rohit Chawla said, “Unravel the history of a woman’s hair, and you unravel a history of subjugation across cultures, nations and generations. ‘Hair and her’ calls for a clean cut with this past-asking every viewer to play a part in a plea for a freer future.”

India Art Fair

Source: India Art Fair

What can one takeaway from India Art Fair

The India Art Fair more than anything else is an experience and a realisation of the power of art. IAF pushes audiences to lead creatively rich and inspired lives, to engage with stories and regions through art. As aware audiences and citizens, it helps one realise their own role in championing and forwarding the legacy and stories of the region. It allows people a platform to engage and ask questions. For those who can, buy and collect art and in the process of doing so, contribute their part in empowering artists and the community around to own their culture.

You can now book your tickets for the India Art Fair here.