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New Delhi’s art scene springs to life ahead of India Art Fair 2024

Along with the art fair which kicks off tomorrow, galleries and institutions across New Delhi have come alive this past week with a slew of parallel shows

New Delhi’s art scene springs to life ahead of India Art Fair 2024
[Source photo: India Art Fair]

The India Art Fair is set to return to New Delhi tomorrow for its biggest edition yet, celebrating the best of South Asian art and culture, featuring 108 exhibitors and an all new ‘Design’ section.

The lineup this year also includes 72 galleries and major regional and art institutions, welcoming 30 new exhibitors this time around. 

The 15th edition of the fair promises its most ambitious program yet, bursting with interactive talks, workshops, performances, and artistic installations that spill beyond the gallery booths and take over the fairgrounds.

Jaya Asokan, fair director of the art fair shared how the 2024 edition is a celebration of South Asian artists, as the platform is proud to host a wide spectrum of the region’s creative best right from some of the more established artists and designers to newcomers. 

“Our programme of commissions and projects is our most ambitious yet and we are proud to have such an illustrious group of experts taking part in our talks programme and workshops,” she added. 

Along with the art fair which kicks off tomorrow, galleries and institutions across New Delhi have come alive this past week with a slew of parallel shows that patrons can catch before they head to the fair. 

A glimpse of what to watch out for:

‘Shakekthu Salpaka’ by Manjunath Kamath

Delhi-based Gallery Espace is hosting a solo exhibition of artwork and sculptures by Manjunath Kamath, featuring the layered and multifaceted oeuvre of the artist, including towering terracotta sculptures and larger-than-life paintings. 

The title, a nonsensical phrase coined by Kamath, sets the stage for his artistic sleight of hand. ‘Shakekthu Salpaka’ playfully mocks the grandiose names of kings and heroes found in Indian mythology and history, hinting at the artist’s intention to poke fun at the often messy, jumbled-up nature of historical narratives.

Where: Contemporary Art, Bikaner House

When: January 29 – February 16

This fire that warms you by Tsohil Bhatia

Honoring the diligence of a homemaker, Tsohil Bhatia takes over their studio as if it were a kitchen and treats it as the subject itself. Having made self-portraits time and again for over a decade, the exhibition features a multimedia video that observes the body of the artist beside the fire, both co-existing independently and living harmoniously. 

“I just let it do its thing”, says Tsohil, alluding to the fresh produce that they have preserved in their studio space, urging that at times the process of decaying transforms objects to their true self.

There are many things that go wrong in the kitchen/studio, cracks, spills, burns and more, that are moments of indiscipline which create a rupture in the otherwise seamless process of the kitchen. The artist explores the site as it serves many possibilities and becomes a space to revolt and imagine radical action. 

Where: Blueprint12, Anand Niketan, New Delhi

When: January 25  –  March 2

Cosmos and Beyond 2 – Group Show

This group show features works by artists Pradeep Ahirwar, Chantal Jumel, Bhavna Sonawane, Priyanka Bajaj and Tanjima Kar Sekh.

The artists, with their unique voices and mediums, will challenge viewers to reconsider the way they perceive the world around them. 

The show plunges into the captivating realms of form, structure, and the profound connections between the cosmos, nature, and architecture. Featuring a diverse selection of artworks, Cosmos and Beyond 2 promises a journey through the intricacies of these profound ideas, both literally and metaphorically.

Where: Apparao Galleries, Nizamuddin East, New Delhi

When: January 27 – March 5 

Echoes of Prosperity Capturing Japan’s Identity, 1980s-1990s – Group Show

This group show explores the decades of transformation that took place in Japan’s history, specifically from the 1980s to the 1990s.

The exhibition is showcasing posters from the country from that decade that formulate the Japanese identity, from the economic boom to the cultural shift. The show reflects the symbiotic relationship that exists between visual culture and national identity, offering profound insignia into the evolution of the modern identity of Japan. 

Where: The Japan Foundation, New Delhi

When: January 27 – February 4

Mool | मूल – Group Show

Gallery Ragini presents Mool | मूल , a group show showcasing works by Dhavat Singh, Prakash Chandra, Sanjay Das, Shoba Jolly, Bhim Singh Rajput, A K Jha.

The show connects different indigenous practices in the country that come from a long history of tradition. Murals and religious imagery from across the country have evolved into a language of their own as the contemporary artworks in this show tackle folklore of the past and the reality of their present. 

Where: Gallery Ragini, The Ambassador IHCL SeleQtions, New Delhi

When: January 27 – February 25

Mastermoshai – Nandalal Bose

The exhibition features works by Nandalal Bose, one of the tall figures of modern Indian art. 

The show attempts to highlight how the cards/postcards bring out the tangents of the artist that have previously been overlooked. 

Showcasing the transition of Bose’s art from the influence of Abindranath Tagore to the influences that Ramakrishna, Rabindranath Tagore, and Gandhi had on his practice, the exhibition sheds a light on the artist’s need for spirituality within nature. 

Where: Akar Prakar, Defence Colony, New Delhi

When: January 30 – February 29

Debris Collector – Anoli Perera

In Anoli Perera’s latest showcase, we are engulfed in the odor of a present ensnared by the past and shackled to an elusive future. 

The artist appears submerged in the scent of ‘fleurs du mal’, or the flowers of evil, strewn across her tapestries. 

Sri Lanka, Perera’s place of origin, still bears the scars of a devastating three-decade civil war, existing in what Walter Benjamin termed a ‘state of emergency’—a perpetual crisis engineered by authoritarian regimes to maintain oppression and instability among its citizens.

We traverse landscapes – within the exhibition – depicting shrieking children and trees engulfed in fiery hues of orange. Encountering ladders cascading from the heavens like desperate SOS signals, there is a yearning for redemption, yet an understanding that these ladders offer no escape akin to a trapeze act. 

Where: Shrine Empire, Defence Colony, New Delhi

When: January 30 – March 2

A Thousand Lives – Raghu Rai

The show is curated by Roobina Karode and Devika Daulet-Singh, featuring works from 1965 to 2005 of the nationally and internationally acclaimed photographer Raghu Rai. 

This exhibition delves into the lesser-explored facets of Rai’s persona, highlighting his remarkable talent in capturing the diverse tapestry of India and its people from a comprehensive perspective. Few have traversed India’s multifaceted reality—its bustling streets, hidden alleys, architectural marvels, and vibrant markets—with the depth and insight that Rai has demonstrated over six decades.

Shedding a light on Rai’s pre-digital era, during which he passionately explored analog/film photography with unparalleled freedom and creativity, the exhibition draws from his vast archives,unveiling a fresh selection of extraordinary photographs, many of which are revealed to the public for the first time.

Where: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Saket, New Delhi

When: February 1 – February 29


Shireen Khan is a Senior Correspondent at Press Insider. She covers lifestyle, culture, and health. More

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