House of Cards by Owais Husain, panels, mixed media and photo prints on acrylic, aluminium frames, 2015 Image Credit:

Galleries from around the world, including the UAE, will participate in the India Art Fair 2017, to be held from February 2 to 5 at NSIC Grounds, Okhla, in New Delhi. The fair, launched in 2008, has played a key role in developing and promoting South Asian art, and is the region’s leading platform for showcasing modern and contemporary art from Asia and across the world.

The commercial side of the fair also includes the Platform section, and a new curated section, Vernacular in Flux. Platform is designed to be a showcase for established and emerging South Asian galleries, artists and artists’ collectives, and the featured spaces this year include Dhaka based Britto Arts Trust, Nepal Art Council, Theertha International Artists’ Collective from Sri Lanka and New Delhi-based Blueprint 12. Vernacular in Flux aims to highlight the rich arts heritage of India, and will focus on the traditional Gond, Madhubani and Mysore paintings this year.

As part of its Art Projects, the fair will present 16 specially curated projects by well-known Indian and international artists such as Joël Andrianomearisoa, Mithu Sen, Thukral and Tagra, Anila Quayyum Agha, Sudarshan Shetty, Reena Saini Kallat and Francis Limérat. These will be exhibited in outdoor and indoor spaces across the venue.



Owais Husain, Mythology of Choice I, 2016


Leading Indian art institutions such as Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Floodlight Foundation, Kanoria Centre for Arts and Swaraj Art Archive will also present elements of their programmes and projects specially commissioned for the fair.

The fair’s public programme includes the Film Programme and the Speaker’s Forum. The film programme, titled Art on Film, is curated by Godrej India Culture Lab with Avijit Mukul Kishore and Rohan Sivakumar, and explores the intersection between filmmaking and the visual arts in India from the 1960s to the present. It includes films about artists as well as films made by artists.

The Speaker’s Forum aims to promote cultural discourse in South Asia through talks, seminars and panel discussions with leading regional and international artists, curators, critics, administrators, gallerists, collectors and academics. Highlights of this edition of the Forum include a conversation with Shaikha Hoor Al Qasimi, president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, and Dr Thomas Girst, head of Cultural Engagement BMW group in BMW Art Talk: The Art of Collecting; and a discussion on The Future of Museums focusing on the growing role of South Asian art in global museum programming with leading art professionals such as Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums and Foundation, and Sheena Wagstaff from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Other topics to be discussed include When Technology Meets Art, and Perspectives from Networks of South Asian Art, featuring participants such as Simon Rein, project manager for Google Cultural Institute, and Boon-Hui Tan, director of the Asia Society Museum. To support the development of a new generation of collectors across the region, the Forum has also invited well-known Indian, regional and international collectors to speak about their private collections and collecting strategies. The fair’s academic partners include FCDI, Embassy of France in India and Institut Français India, Polish Institute New Delhi, Wallonie-Bruxelles International and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, and Godrej India Culture Lab.

The fair’s presenting partner BMW will showcase a 1992, BMW 3-Series Racing Prototype, painted by Italian artist Sandro Chia. The car, which is part of the BMW Art Car collection, is a work of art that reflects the cultural and historical development of art, design and technology.

The UAE and its vibrant arts scene will be represented at India Art Fair 2017 in various sections.

Dubai-based galleries Grey Noise and 1x1 Art Gallery will present their artists in the commercial section of the fair. 1x1 gallery will showcase works by Zarina Hashemi, Judy Blum, Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Mithu Sen, Poonam Jain and Sachin Bonde. “As an international gallery mainly showcasing Indian art, I believe it is important for us to be at India Art Fair to share what we do with the audience in India,” Malini Gulrajani, founder of the gallery says.

Grey Noise will present works by Pakistani artist Fahd Burki, Bengaluru-based Mariam Suhail and Dubai-based Chinese artist Lantian Xie. “Having close ties with India since the inception of Grey Noise, we believe in nurturing our clients and programme by representing the UAE with a wider context and presence in New Delhi. In the past, India Art Fair has provided us with a good platform to promote our artists and provided us the opportunity to meet visitors who are well-informed, curious and willing to learn from what we have to offer in the contemporary art market,” Umer Butt, the gallery’s director says.

Shaikha Hoor will offer her insights on building an art collection in a discussion on the Art of Collecting at the Speaker’s Forum. Manuel Rabaté from Louvre Abu Dhabi is also slated to participate in the Forum in a discussion on The Future of Museums.

Dubai-based Indian artist Owais Husain will present a video installation, “Mythology of Choice”, in collaboration with the Floodlight Foundation. The work features digital imagery encased within two plastered steel trunks, representing storehouses of memory. The videos have a stillness to them, with the slow rhythmic breathing-like movement giving them a human quality. The melancholic, primal, slow-paced imagery features the swirling ocean, a mouth moving silently, a figure turning away and a branch clasped in a hand. The work refers to the victims of change in an ever-shifting world of migration and cultural displacement and the myth that they have a choice. It also speaks about the universal impact of environmental change and the silence and complacency surrounding this issue.

Jyoti Kalsi is an arts-enthusiast based in Dubai.

For more information, visit www.indiaartfair.in