Foreign artists make a beeline for India

Foreign artists make a beeline for India

Foreign artists are finding India a viable destination for long-haul art residencies, drawn to the rainbow colours and traditions that paint everyday life in the country. The rules of the game are changing as India gets a toehold on the global art map.

Till a few years ago, Indian artists queued up for foreign residencies, virtually begging for slots in popular art destinations in Europe and the US. But a growing number of private art archives in India that operate as “360 degrees” destinations offering integrated gallery space, opportunity for residencies and art education is powering a slow reversal of trend.

Foreign artists love the indigenous flavour of the residencies that allows them to explore the country, mingle freely with the local people, sample traditional life - and virtually live and paint the culture.

Irish multi-media artist Carol Driver was concentrating more or less exclusively on her “paintings” till she realised that her works were becoming tightly controlled.

“I began to use collage to achieve this shift and was pleasantly surprised by what emerged,” she said. When Driver was approached by a Spanish gallery to participate in a residency in India, “she immediately saw the possibilities for furthering the avenue”.

Driver said if the residency at NIV Gallery that she attended this month in the Capital was indicative of others in India, the infrastructure was as good as those in Europe.

“One small difference that stands out for me is the studio system here. The artist’s studio is permanently open, thus allowing coming and going by other artists and observers when you are closely involved in your work. In Europe, there is a door to close if you wish to concentrate fully and which you open when you are more relaxed,” Driver said.
The artist said she saw the difference as a cultural one.