return to, the home of critical reviews

The second edition of Art Expo India witnessed participation of several art galleries as well art experts not only from India, but also internationally.

From:     Ashok Nayak
Category: Exhibitions
Date:     10 October 2009
Time:     12:57 AM


Following close on the heels of the hugely successful India Art Summit held in Delhi, came our very
own Art Expo '09 at the Nehru Centre in Mumbai from 25-27 September, an event that brought about
mixed emotions to begin with, but as the programme entered it's second day, the murmurs seemed to
subside in intensity and at the conclusion, all participants and visitors should have come away a
satisfied lot.

An amiable platform to acquaint oneself with the art world, meet new friends, re-establish old ties,
it is hoped that the Expo will be broader-based to attract a larger cross section of the art
community in the years to come. Surely, the art hub of India can and should match strides with the
very best.

Considered among the major events on the country’s art calendar, the second edition of AEI served as
the most comprehensive congregation of art collectors, museum directors, critics, art historians,
art fund managers and corporate decision makers from across the globe. The fair, a showcase of the
very best in Modern & Contemporary art, acted as a flash point, to ignite interest in contemporary
Indian art. Stung by global recession and economic crisis, AEI could not have come at a better time,
playing the role of a catalyst to revive the art scene.

The central theme was emerging contemporary Indian art and the relationship it shares with the
international art scene. There’s no doubt about the fact that India’s art scene has acquired center
stage globally. Though Indian art has been in existence for centuries, its impact on the larger
international canvas has been rather limited. However, things are now fast changing as witnessed at
the expo that was a vibrant reflection of the country’s myriad art trends, encompassing
sociopolitical, religious and historical developments.

Some of India’s biggest and best-known galleries featured at the expo. These included Apparao
Galleries, Chennai; ICIA, Sakshi, Gallery BMB, Gallery Beyond, The Arts Trust, Art Musings, Priyasri
Art Gallery, Pink Ginger Arts (all Mumbai); Latitude 28, Marigold Fine Art, Ashok Art Gallery, Ojas
Art, Indian Art Ideas, Gurgaon Art Centre, Dhoomimal Gallery, Bajaj Capital Art House, Progressive
Art Gallery, Art Inc., Wonderwall (all New Delhi); Ishka, Cochin; Sara Arakkal, Bangalore; and
Kalakriti, Hyderabad. Among the international galleries were (Singapore/Bangladesh);
Galerie ArtSeefeld, Switzerland; Gallery Archana, Malaysia, and 1x1 Art Gallery, Dubai.

Renowned curator-collector Mrs. Kay Saatchi inaugurated the event. The keynote address delivered by
her dwelt upon the theme of spotting young talent and building up an art collection. In fact, a
major highlight of the event was a series of freewheeling conversations with some of the luminaries
of the international art world, comprising Mallika Sagar Advani, Anjolie Ela Menon. Dr. Alka Pande,
Jitish Kallat, Ranjit Hoskote, Bose Krishnamachari, Shantanu Poredi, Brian Brown, Sharan Apparao,
Menaka Kumari-Shah, Abhay Sardesai and Kirsty Ogg. Themes like buying art in recessionary times;
‘Art in Life: the ‘Daily Pleasure of Collecting’; ‘The aesthetics of the erotic’; (X)topia: A Search
for Place, A Place for Search’; Everything is Art; and ‘Indian Art in an International Perspective’
were debated, evoking spontaneous responses and a round of rapid fire questions from the engrossed

Mention also must be made of a mini-retrospective at AEI, which was arranged as a small tribute to
S. H. Raza and his dedication to art. The legendary artist has remarked: “I have lived fully, and
(always) worked with passion and intensity both as a painter and thinker. It needed 30 years for me
to master the art of painting before I arrived at a personal style.” The show encapsulated the
spirit of his art practice.

Nehru Centre in Mumbai might not be frequented by art connoisseurs but last weekend over 20,000
enthusiasts were visited the venue to view artwork from 30 galleries around the world at Art Expo
India. “It’s a forum that allows viewers to look at a collection that is representative,” says
Vickram Sethi, chairman of the three-day fair. He adds, “Entering galleries could be intimidating
and a forum like this helps initiate new people into the world art.” young participation by Ashok
Art Gallery has got a spectacular response on both visitors and sale, it was almost crowded all
three days. their collections includes masters like C.S.Rao, seniors like Baladev Moharatha, cutting
edge like Pratul Dash and new talent Pradosh Swain, Sajal Patra and Kanta Kishore were hot favorite
amongst all.The event spread over three day brought immense sense of satisfaction and achievement to
its organizer Vickram Sethi, who has been involved in art for close to two decades and has witnessed
the dramatic evolution of Indian art scene. The Arts Trust was set up by him in 1990 with a
long-term vision of promoting Indian contemporary art, which was just gaining in prominence at that
time. The Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA) was a logical extension of his vision of
becoming the best source for quality work by both the distinguished and emerging Indian artists.

Having had his own art gallery, he had valuable first-hand experience of the difference between the
art markets in India and outside. He realized that the three challenges to the Indian art market
were an unorganized art market, limited collectors and buyers and international exposure,
interlinking and affecting each other. He felt the need for a consolidated resource within India for
its art scene hence he launched the Art Expo last year.

Harping on the bright future of Indian art and artists as reflected at AEI, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
of The National, a leading UAE based publication, wrote: “Walking through the expo, it’s hard to
imagine that there’s a global economic crisis. If anything, the canvases were larger and more
obviously bright than in previous years, the sculptures and installation pieces held pride of place,
and the new generation was holding down the fort.”

Echoing the sentiments, Mr. Sethi expressed confidence about the bright prospects and potential of
contemporary Indian art. He added, “The Indian market is in a very nascent stage compared to the
international art markets. However, it’s only a matter of time before it grows at a rapid pace.” Art
Expo India 2009 was a significant step forward in this highly fulfilling, rewarding and enriching
journey, searching for new, meaningful expression of creativity.
Art Expo India this year has showcased artists like Picasso , Ganit Blechnr, Souza, Raza, Ram Kumar,
Krishna, Khanna, Nalini Malni, Anjoli Ela Menon, Suryakant Lokhande, Jagannath Mohapatra, Akbar
Padamsee, Chirag Patel, Jogen Choudhary, Alok Bal, Kanta Kishore Moharana, Sajal Patra, Baladev
Moharatha, Pradosh Swain, Somanath Raut, Pratap Jena, Amna Ilyas, Gadadhar Ojha, Manas Ranjan Jena,
items, including pieces by artists of the country to see many masterful art works of both Indian
Masters and Younger Artists.

return to, the home of critical reviews