New Delhi, Apr 28 (EFE).- The India Art Fair, a platform showcasing the modern and contemporary art from the country, kicked off on Thursday for its 13th edition after a two-year gap due to Covid-19, with the pandemic preventing several international galleries from attending this year too.
The Covid crisis is also the leitmotif for several of the artworks on display at the event this year.
One of these is a piece by Indian artist Neerja Kothari, who began to mark each Covid-19 case with a point on a blank paper at the beginning of the pandemic, only to abandon the project later due to the gigantic size assumed by the disease, with over 500 million cases registered worldwide so far.
The work includes around 129,000 points and leaves a blank space to show that it is “still in progress” as the disease continues, the director of the Shrine Empire gallery, Shefali Somani, told EFE.
The gallery, one of the 63 that form part of the fair this year spanning 16 cities, also displays artwork on other current themes such as climate change and social problems.
The 2020 edition of the IAF, one of the most well known art events of the region, had been joined by 81 exhibitors.
India’s Covid-linked restrictions, banning international flights apart from a few exceptions, made it difficult for several regular international galleries to attend the event this year.
Only four foreign exhibitors: Aicon, Aicon Contemporary (the United States), Grosvenor Gallery (the United Kingdom) and Karla Osorio (Brazil) have made it to New Delhi with their artwork this time.
“We still do have representation, but it’s just been a little bit less this year. (…) these galleries plan like six months in advance,” IAF director Jaya Asokan told EFE.
In order to bridge this gap, this edition of the fair has invited 14 nonprofit organizations and other institutions, which the organizers want to help in the contexts of the hardships faced by them in the last two years, as “it is these institutions who sought after the young, upcoming artists,” Asokan said.
One of these is the Kolkata-based Center of Creativity, which greets visitors with an interpretive dance on rhythms based on Indian traditional music.
An emerging gallery, Terrain Art, has debuted at this year’s event just two years after being founded in 2020.
The platform mainly promotes artists linked to digital art and Non-Fungible Tokens, forms that are new and beyond the grasp of much of the audience but are being seen as having a big future.
“It’s important because there is no kind of middle man to showcase your art, it becomes a decentralized way of putting your work for sale,” their exhibition’s curator Sukanya Deb told EFE in a room full of screens that showed human faces and oceanic spirals.
Referring to the increasingly popular blockchain technology, Deb said that this kind of art would reduce the institutional dominance at such events and make it a “free for all space.” EFE