The buoyant art scene

The buoyant art scene


The art scene in Delhi is bustling again. Following the success of this year’s edition of India Art Fairmost art experts say that there aren’t any new galleries coming up every month like it used to be before the recession hit, but the downturn brought its good effects too.

Curious : Visitors at Vadehra Art Gallery.

It evened out the competition, removed those galleries which set up shop only to profit from the art boom, stabilised the prices of artwork and brought back genuine art lovers instead of businessmen looking for investments.

Archana Jahagirdar, CEO and director of Gallery Espace, says, “I see a renewed interest in art. Buyers are coming back after the downturn. It’s a good time to buy art because good artists and artwork are coming up. The footfall that India Art Fair received is a good indicator.”

 Most galleries are also busy inaugurating new exhibitions every three to four weeks and foundations like Khoj – an artist led society and Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) are holding programmes regularly. Private museums like Devi Art Foundation and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art are also coming up with major projects.

Roshini Vadehra, the director of the Vadehra Art Gallery says, “The Indian art market is largely supported by Indian buyers, both domestic and NRIs. A lot of people aspire to have an art collection with well-known senior artists like MF Husain and SH Raza. On the other hand, the demand for contemporary artists like Atul Dodiya and Shilpa Gupta is also rising. More recently, a few corporate collections have also started, which also give a huge boost to the art market.”

Many reputed galleries are now opening shops in areas like Gurgaon and Noida following the growing demand. Archana informs, “You know, even a small city like Seoul has more art galleries than Delhi. So Delhi should have far more galleries than there are right now. There is always room for more.”

Most art experts agree that post-recession the market has become more “mature.” Art curator Roobina Karode says, “It is not about scores of galleries selling the same thing anymore. If a gallery has to survive now, it has to have a niche. For example, Delhi Art Gallery specialises in historical artwork, selling pieces from the Independence and pre-independence era. Others like Talwar Art Gallery are promoting contemporary artists only. Today, it’s more about how you project yourself.”