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India Art Fair nurtures global interest in South Asia
William Havell, Peshwa’s Palace, Pune. Watercolour on paper, 13.4 x 18.3, inches.

NEW DELHI.- Since its launch in 2008, India Art Fair has presented the best of the region to a global audience. The 2016 edition cemented the fair’s strategic importance in the development of South Asian arts.

Building on this success, 2017 will see the return of Platform - a significant section at the fair designed to provide an opportunity for the best of the established and emerging South Asian galleries, artists and artist collectives to exhibit on an established international platform. This year Platform participants include Britto Arts Trust (Dhaka, Bangladesh), Nepal Art Council (Kathmandu, Nepal), Theertha International Artists' Collective (Colombo, Sri Lanka) and Blueprint 12 (New Delhi, India).

With a shared purpose to promote cultural discourse in South Asia the acclaimed Speakers’ Forum will have a broad and exciting programme that presents artists, curators, critics, administrators, academics, gallerists and collectors. Highlights include Richard Armstrong (Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums and Foundation) and Sheena Wagstaff (Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art) on the panel The Future of Museums; Dr. Thomas Girst (Head of Cultural Engagement BMW Group) with HE Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi (President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation) on BMW Art Talk: The Art of Collecting; Simon Rein (Project Manager for Google Cultural Institute) with JaiJai Fei (Digital Director at the Jewish Museum, New York) on the panel When Technology meets Art; Pooja Sood (Director of Khoj International Artists Association), Alessio Antonelli (Director of Gasworks) and Boon-Hui Tan (Director, Asia Society Museum) on a panel on Perspectives from Networks of South Asian Art.

Building on the fair’s ongoing outreach to develop a new generation of collectors across the region, the Speakers’ Forum will also facilitate intimate conversations between collectors from India and across the globe with speakers including Carl Christian Aegidius, Jean-Conrad and Isabelle Lemaître, Komal Shah, Frédéric de Goldschmidt, Anurag Khanna, Krupa Amin and Vir Kotak, who will provide a glimpse into their private collections.

The international engagement through these sessions is complimented by a comprehensive Collectors’ Programme highlighting the fair’s ongoing efforts to further cultivate its networks, both within India and internationally. Focused initiatives are planned with individual collectors, large groups and delegates from prestigious institutions, many of whom are coming for the first time, including Santa Barbara Museums, Singapore Art Museum, Palais de Tokyo, Paris​, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, Rhode Island School of Design, United States and The Guimet Museum, France.

The 2017 edition of the fair will feature both longstanding representatives of Indian art and new exhibitors from around the globe who are keen to develop relationships with the Indian art market, including Kalfayan Galleries (Athens), Grey Noise (Dubai), 1x1 Gallery (Dubai), Sabrina Amrani (Madrid), PhotoInk (New Delhi), TARQ (Mumbai) and Lukas Feichtner Galerie (Vienna) showing a breadth of contemporary art practices. In addition, an extensive Art Projects programme spanning the outdoor and indoor fair space will be a major focus of the fair this year, presenting a range of work from high profile Indian and international artists. There will be 16 specially-curated art projects by individual artists, including projects by artists Joël Andrianomearisoa, Mithu Sen, Thukral and Tagra, Anila Quayyum Agha, Sudarshan shetty, Reena Saini Kallat, Francis limérat, Avinash Veeraraghavan, Rathin Barman, Parul Gupta, Kanu Gandhi and Hemant Sreekumar.

The fair will also unveil a new curated space, Vernacular in Flux, curated by Dr. Annapurna Garimella, which presents a rich showcase of vernacular art with a focus on Gond, Madhubani and Mysore painting. As part of India Art Fair’s expanded programming, visitors will see the return of the popular Film Programme, introduced in 2016, curated by Godrej India Culture Lab with Avijit Mukul Kishore and Rohan Shivkumar. ‘Art on Film’ is an exploration of the intersection between film-making and the visual arts in India from the 1960s to the present day. The programme consists of films both about artists and those made by artists, and sees filmmakers and artists work across different genres to push the boundaries of their respective media.

Continuing their long and substantial engagement with contemporary arts, Presenting Partner BMW will show the Sandro Chia, Art Car, 1992, BMW 3-Series Racing Prototype reflecting the cultural and historical development of art, design and technology. They will also create an exclusive space for collectors to connect at the Collectors’ Lounge and and host the Annual BMW Patrons’ evening in support and celebration of corporate collaboration and patronage of the arts. Other key sponsors include Associate Partner JSW, University Partner Amity University, Hospitality Partner Le Meridien, Supporting Partner Absolut and Mobile Partner VIVO India.

Acknowledging the fair’s position as a portal into South Asia’s cultural landscape, representing the best of the region, India Art Fair was recently part-acquired by global exhibition organisers MCH Group, who in September 2016 acquired a co-ownership stake as their first step in creating a portfolio of leading regional art fairs around the world. Following the upcoming edition MCH Group’s involvement will help develop India Art Fair to its fullest potential in the coming years.

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