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India Art Fair 2016 consolidates position as pre-eminent platform for South Asian contemporary art
Rasheed Araeen, Chaar Yaar II (Four Friends). Wood & Paint, 24 x 48 x 48 in. 1968. Photo: Aicon Gallery - Rasheed Araeen - India Art Fair 2016.

NEW DELHI.- Since its launch in 2008, India Art Fair has established and consolidated its position as South Asia's leading platform for modern and contemporary art. Engaging with the arts in the region at every level of the market, the fair has become the bedrock of a booming cultural community. India Art Fair is building on these foundations through a number of new initiatives and developments including the addition of BMW as Presenting Partner, and the appointment of Zain Masud as International Director. Zain has been instrumental in applying a refreshed curatorial approach to the gallery programming, Speakers' Forum, regional engagement and the overall programming of the fair. The fair will present new international participants along with some of the best programmes from the Indian subcontinent, emphasising diversity and quality across chronologies and media.

"The ever-expanding global culture of art fairs makes it increasingly important for an event such as India Art Fair to distinguish itself with a strong identity relevant to its context. As India Art Fair prepares to launch its eighth edition, we build on its foundations as the key platform for contemporary and modern art in India, adjusting our focus and programming to provide a more concise selective roster of galleries and turn the fair into a definitive reference point for South Asia. This has become a defining strategic focus for the fair, and it is through this that India Art Fair has, and will continue to evolve." Zain Masud, International Director, India Art Fair

Acknowledging the fair’s strategic importance in the development of the South Asian arts, this year there will be a significant presence from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, notably through a new programme called Platform, which will represent young emerging artists, key artspaces and collectives who might never otherwise find their place at an art fair and among its audiences. Participants include Blueprint12 (India), Nepal Art Council (Nepal), Theertha Artists Collective (Sri Lanka), Taseer Art Gallery (Pakistan), and Swaraj Art Archive (India).

With a shared purpose to promote cultural discourse in South Asia, and provide a platform for such discussion, Godrej India Culture Lab, Asia Art Archive and Art India are collaborating with the fair as academic partners of the acclaimed Speakers’ Forum, supported by Forum Partner The Goethe Institute. This broad and exciting programme of lectures and conversations will engage the entire range of stakeholders in the visual arts – artists, curators, critics, administrators, academics, gallerists and collectors in addition to a wide spectrum of artistic practices. Highlights of this year’s panels will include Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA, New York) on the panel Artists’ Moving Image: Distribution and Collection; Thomas Girst (Head of Cultural Engagement, BMW Group) with Sangita Jindal (Chairperson, JSW Foundation) on the panel Towards a Culture of Corporate Patronage; Osman Waheed (Founder and Chair, Lahore Biennale Foundation) and Dina Bangdel (Nepal Arts Council) on Access and Integration in the Arts Across South Asia and Sunitha Kumar Emmart (Founder, GALLERYSKE) with Sudarshan Shetty (artist and curator of Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016) on the Artist and the Gallerist, presenting for the first time a direct conversation between an artist and their gallerist at the fair.

Building on India Art Fair’s ongoing work to stimulate and develop a new generation of collectors across the region, the Speakers’ Forum will also include a panel on Collecting and Public Engagement, with high-profile collectors and patrons such as Tariq al Jaidah (Founder of Katara Art Centre, Doha), Haro Cumbusyan (Patron and Founder, Collectorspace, Istanbul), and Lu Xun (Collector and director of the Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing). There is, in addition, a panel on A New Generation of South Asian Collectors, aimed at cultivating interest across a rapidly developing younger collector base.

These sessions complement the fair’s ongoing efforts to further cultivate its Indian and international networks. This is reflected in a comprehensive VIP outreach programme that has this year connected and engaged with more countries, cultural institutions and collectors than ever before. Collector-based events and initiatives are planned with large groups and delegates from international institutions including The Guggenheim, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Palais de Tokyo,Paris, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Asian Art Museum, San Francisco and Boston Athenæum, Boston amongst others. Beyond institutional delegates, a range of high-end travel tours have been coordinated to bring new collectors to the capital through organisations such as The Cultivist, and Adventures in Art with Karen Stone Talwar.

As part of India Art Fair’s expanded programming this year, a number of leading international and Indian museums and foundations will also participate directly in the fair in a new programme Institutional. Presenting elements of their programmes or collaborations specially commissioned for the fair, participating institutions include the Delfina Foundation, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Jindal Art Center, Devi Art Foundation and the Korean Cultural Centre India.

Further initiatives at India Art Fair in 2016 include a designated space called IAF Atrium for the Spotlight Series which will host performances, book launches and talks. This new space will also showcase an inaugural Film Programme focusing on film as art curated by Shai Heredia (filmmaker and Director of Experimenta, India’s international festival for moving image art) . This practice draws attention to the materiality and experiential qualities of the moving image, turning form into the content of the work. For the first time India Art Fair will screen cutting edge film and video art from Asia and elsewhere.

With the new spaces at India Art Fair comes a strong design aesthetic, coordinated in collaboration with Architectural Advisors Morphogenesis, instilling a more experiential, interactive and dynamic design element to the 2016 edition of the fair.

The reach of design will be further expanded at the 2016 edition through India Art Fair’s Sponsors and Partners. Associate Partner JSW will integrate their JSW Cement and REBAR Steel into the fair’s seating and outdoor areas, whilst Presenting Partner BMW, as a part of their global cultural engagement will present the Cesar Manrique BMW 730i Art Car, reflecting the cultural and historical development of art, design and technology. To further their engagement at the fair, BMW will host India Art Fair’s first ever Collectors’ Lounge, creating an exclusive space for collectors to connect, share highlights and continue discussions. They will also host the IAF & BMW Annual Collectors’ Dinner in support and celebration of corporate collaboration and patronage of the arts. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage more directly in design when Preview Partner Officine Panerai presents a renowned watch-designer on the VIP preview day for an exclusive insight into the art of watchmaking and design, celebrating their eight year association with the fair.

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