From 19th to 22nd of August 2009, New Delhi’s largest trade-fair venue, Pragati Maidan, held perhaps the largest showcase of modern and contemporary art in India yet. Although the venue only had one entrance gate for visitors, one can find multiple points of entry to understand what the art fair in India was all about.
Even from the early planning stages, the India Art Summit boasted 2,500 sq metres of space dedicated solely to art, with fifty four participating galleries (seventeen from overseas), and a total turnout of over 40,000 visitors from all over India and abroad. Key features of the event included a sculpture garden; a video-art lounge; seminar sessions on historical issues as well as the current art-market; curatorial walks by students from art colleges; workshops for school children; approximately twelve collateral events spanning almost the entire city; book launches and, of course, sales amidst recession.
While the newspapers buzzed about an optimistic art market with new buyers and discerning collectors, galleries were introduced to a wider audience. The Summit also served as a platform for international galleries to test the water in the domestic market. Although it was not the first international dialogue on art in India, it could perhaps be the first concerted and collective effort to gauge the Indian art market. If scale is the criteria, and lately this has often been the case, the 2nd annual India Art Summit has been a one-of-a-kind event in India.
- Tue, 1 Sep 2009