Art market looks up to India, amidst global crisis

Written by Ashok Kumar(IndianExpress.com) | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 24 2009, 21:14pm hrs
Ashna Singh JaipuriaAshna Singh Jaipuria, director of Viart, posing for photo at her stall, at the India Art Summit, in New Delhi.
With as many as many as 16 galleries from abroad, the second edition of the India Art Summit at the Pragati Maidan in Delhi was conspicuous by the considerable growth in the presence of art galleries both from the country as well as overseas marking remarkable growth in the number of participants and presence of the artworks from different parts of the world.

Undeterred by the gloom in the global economic scenario, the exhibitors, particularly those from the abroad evinced deep interest in the potential of the Indian art market as some of them called it the market of hope amidst the global recession.

Katja W. Ott, representing Beck & Eggeling gallery from Dusseldorf, Germany felt privileged as she disclosed that they are exhibiting in India for the first time and representing five contemporary artists including Desmond Lazaro (UK), Viveek Sharma, Sonia Mehra (India) Chawla, George Martin and Hema Upadhyay.

When asked about the prospects of an art summit in a developing country like India, Katja explained, how, with the societal changes, people in countries like India are becoming increasingly aware of arts making the country a potential place as the art market.

Talking about the impact of recession on the art market, Katja says, Current global crisis had an impact on art market and the buyers have become more careful, these days. Instead of shares and stocks people these days are investing more and more in arts, explains Katja.

Stefan Wimmer, managing partner, Beck & Eggeling (Germany), talking about the Indian art market feels that with the welfare growing in the developing countries, like India, and a greater number of people living a better life, the potential is all set to grow. Talking about the India art summit he says, It has been a good chance for the European art galleries to come and explore the Indian art market, Stefan summarises.

Ashna Singh Jaipuria, director of Viart, a New Delhi based contemporary Indian art gallery, candidly shares how she developed a deep interest in art despite having no formal academic education in the field. I did not have any art education, but got the basic understanding of art, through various catalogues and art exhibitions that came across my way, confides Ashna.

When asked to comment on the driving factors that keep her going ahead in this field, Ashna says, The curiosity for creativity and a pure passion to strive for excellence and perfection keeps me alive in the business (of art market).

When asked how much business she looks forward to despite the downturn, Ashna, brimming with confidence, said, I am seriously hopeful about the sales, despite the downturn. There is a professional class, who buys art, for the sake of sound investment, educates Ashna.

Elina Zuzane of the Galerija 21 of Latvia came to the India Art Summit, to experience something different. Everyone is moving to the West. We felt India has not had enough exposure to Latvian arts, so we have come to represent our country in India, quips Elina.

Elina, who has earlier worked as a Trend Forecaster, in UK, after finishing her degree, says she entered into the world of art by sheer coincidence. Talking about her understanding of the Indian art, she says, Indian art is more colourful than the Latvian one, in several aspects such as the use of colours.

Hwajung Choi, assistant curator at the Arario Gallery that has branches in Beijing, Seoul and New York, feels that more art connoisseurs are showing their interest in the Indian art and it is growing popular with each passing day.