INDIA ART Fair, one of the biggest fairs of modern and contemporary art in the country, is back for its eighth edition. To be held at the NSIC grounds in Okhla, New Delhi, the fair, which started in 2008, will take place this year from January 29 to 31, with a VIP preview (by invitation only) on January 28. Here are some of the highlights this year:
At the helm of affairs
The fair will see Zain Masud as its international director. The 32-year-old postgraduate from Oxford University has served as an assistant fair director at Art Dubai from 2009 to 2014 and has extensive experience of the art scene in the Middle-East, south Asia, Russia, China and Africa. Masud has been instrumental in applying a refreshed curatorial approach to the fair’s gallery selection process, speakers’ forum and the overall programming. As part of her ‘strategy’, the number of galleries has been brought down to 70 from 85-90 in the years before.
This year, the festival will see increased participation from south Asia, with more galleries and artists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh taking part. ‘Platform’, a new initiative, will focus on regional art spaces and collectives, including the Nepal Art Council, Blueprint12, Theertha Artists Collective, Taseer Art Gallery and Swaraj Art Archive.
Eighteen participants are exhibiting for the first time this year, including Grey Noise (Dubai), Hafez Gallery (Jeddah), Edel Assanti (London), Sabrina Amrani (Madrid), Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch (Rome) and Hosfelt Gallery (San Francisco), alongside returning galleries such as Thomas Erben Gallery (New York), Galleria Continua (San Gimignano, Les Moulins, Beijing and Havana), Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), Experimenter (Kolkata), Galleryske (Bengaluru, New Delhi) and Gallery Espace (New Delhi).
For the first time, the fair is going to host a film programme called ‘Moving Image Art’. To be showcased at a new designated space called ‘IAF Atrium’, it will focus on films as a form of art and will screen cutting-edge films and video art from Asia and elsewhere. The programme has been curated by Shai Heredia, founder of Experimenta, an international festival for moving-image art.
A number of leading international and Indian museums, and foundations will participate directly in the fair this year. Participating institutions include the Delfina Foundation, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Korean Cultural Centre India.
Art on wheels
This year, German luxury auto major BMW has come on board as the fair’s presenting partner. Apart from other initiatives, it will showcase the specially-created BMW 730i ‘art car’, which was designed by Spanish artist César Manrique in 1990.