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South Asian artists light up Delhi contemporary art week

Six leading galleries have come together to showcase the diversity and unity of South Asian art, from textiles to multimedia

South Asian artists light up Delhi contemporary art week
[Source photo: Shireen Khan/Press Insider]

Amid all the din in the wake of the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi this week, the national capital is playing host to art connoisseurs, both old and new, at the sixth edition of the Delhi Contemporary Art Week (DCAW).

This year, six leading galleries — Blueprint12, Exhibit 320, Gallery Espace, Latitude 28, Shrine Empire, and Vadehra Art Gallery — have come together to offer a platform to artists, especially from South Asia.

The expo showcases a diverse array of themes and mediums, ranging from textiles and multimedia to unconventional materials such as razor blades. It creates a compelling narrative woven into the fabric of modern art.

Gallery Espace, located in Delhi and historically linked to renowned artist M.F. Husain, showcased a variety of skilled artists who used a variety of mediums, but textiles were a central, recurring theme in the work displayed.

A number of Indian artists have been working with contemporary textiles of late and, globally, textile has been a category that has been much talked about.

“We had a number of artists who worked specifically with textiles, so we decided to put it all together in a show,” said a representative from the art house on condition of anonymity.

“Gallery Espace represents a diverse group of artists, from established figures like Shobha Broota to emerging talents like Devi Seetharam and Rashmimala Devi. These artists work in a variety of mediums, including paper, silk, and backlit chikankari. The gallery also features an array of techniques such as cyanotype, crochet, resin works, bead embroidery, and numerous print methods like etching and lithography,” the person added.

Established in 1987, the Vadehra Art Gallery marked its presence at the art fair with an exhibition that showcased not only remarkable works by diverse artists, but also incorporated their keen insight into the art market by adding multiple price points for new collectors who are interested in purchasing art.

“Of course, there are the old collectors that visit, but there are also a lot of new collectors that are coming from Delhi and other parts of India. Especially this year, it seems like everyone is coming with an intent to add to their collection or to start collecting,” said Roshni Vadehra, from the Vadehra Art Gallery.

With some of the top names in contemporary art like Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, N.S. Harsha, and Shilpa Gupta on their existing roster, Vadehra Art Gallery is also undertaking emerging artists such as Shailesh B.R. and Shrimanti Saha, with some of the younger contemporary artists like Sachin George Sebastian. The gallery has also introduced a newcomer this year called Zaam Arif, a Pakistani-American artist based in Houston, Texas, whose works they are showing for the first time in Delhi.

“From our gallery’s perspective, we try to get works that would be interesting for seasoned collectors as well as new collectors. There are works on paper, canvases, some sculptures, and photography. There is also a diverse price range, at the entry level there are price points which are comfortable for most people and then going up to higher price points for more seasoned collectors,” said Vadehra.

This year, Blueprint12’s curated selection focuses on the intersection of evolving urban landscapes and individual identity. Featuring artists whose works explore themes such as socio-political shifts, belonging, and migration, the gallery has successfully integrated these elements into its display.

“An intriguing artist from Amritsar has captured photographs of fields in Punjab, uniquely marked by painted flags of various countries on standing structures. This aspect of his work highlights the ongoing migration issues affecting Punjab,” said Riddhi Bhalla of Blueprint12.

The artist in question, Shashank Peshawaria, has captured images of unconventional structures that tower over Punjab’s picturesque farmlands. These pieces depict the widespread yearning for migration that is prevalent in numerous households in the region. His series, called ‘Fields Aflutter’, is on display at the DCAW.

Another participant at the art show, Shrine Empire, has a line-up of 13 artists, all hailing from South Asia. With a collection that spans intricate installations to paintings, the gallery offers an eclectic mix.

“Our roster includes artists from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, and of course India. Our aim is to reveal the shared history and interconnectedness manifest in these artists’ works, despite the differences in their national origins,” Shefali Somani, co-director of Shrine Empire, told Press Insider.

The art expo, which is being hosted at Bikaner House on the iconic India Gate hexagon, kicked off on Sunday and is open till Thursday, just before the city shuts for the G20 summit.


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

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