India Art Festival celebrates contemporary art

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016,15:30 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Termed as a celebration of modern and contemporary art the India Art Festival, which debuted here after four editions in Mumbai brought to the city uncanny installations, life size sculptures and paintings in myriad media under one roof. 40 art galleries and more than 300 artists from 15 Indian cities and 5 countries were hosted over the last three days by the event, which sought to facilitate dialogue and collaborations between galleries,independent artists, art collectors and connoisseurs. Aberrations from conventional forms of art were conspicuous in the very first installation What is intolerance? by Odisha-based artist Sudhanshu Sutar right at the entrance of the festival venue of the National Stadium. Sutar’s installation tears through the ongoing debate of what intolerance is and explains India’s most recent dilemma through the popular crab mentality metaphor if I can’t have it, neither can you.

The artist filled up a chest with over 150 fibre glass crabs painted with faces of famous Indian personalitiesactors, politicians, sportspersons, writers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it to the top of the crab pile leaving behind, Manmohan Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, Sonia Gandhi, Sachin Tendulkar and many others. The event not only showcased major and mid-level art galleries with innovative artworks but also offered emerging, independent artists a platform to get discovered while getting an opportunity to interact with the masters. Festival director Rajendra said the festival has attempted to breach the gap between an art market and the gallery system. We are here to democratise the functioning of the art market and the gallery system. Galleries are private establishments whereas art fairs are brand identities.

Both have credibility; over a period of time our art market has become more and more democratic through the activities in the secondary art market, he said. 36-year-old Kanta Kishore might hail from one of the remotest villages in Odisha but his awareness about different social issues that haunt not just India but also the world at large reflects well in his sculptures. Kishore’s works were all based out of 3-dimensional life-size sculptures of mythological books, implying that we often choose to ignore the lessons that our ancient texts have to offer, he said. To represent global warming, the artist had carved out a melting globe out of a thick stone-bronze book and to draw attention towards exploitation of women, he showed an iron burning the pages of a newspaper with headlines about crimes against women. Kishore’s sculpture Global Warming was priced at Rs 6 lacs.