Nurturing young artists and galleries

Art festival

The tragic fate of United Art Fair is discussed in whispers in Delhi’s art circle. The Delhi-based event had failed to find a feasible business model to sustain its bright ambitions of projecting itself as an art fair to promote budding artist after hosting a few editions.

So, the news of the capital hosting another art festival comes with the burden of suspicion and skepticism. Though, India Art Festival has had five successful editions in Mumbai, the big question in everyone’s mind will be to see if the four-day event leaves a mark in the city’s already cluttered art space.

However, festival director, Rajendra, is confident of pulling off the event and is hopeful that the Delhi’s art circle would welcome the fair with open arms as they aren’t competing with any art fair (read India Art Fair).

“India Art Fair is the face of India but they have their stringent criteria and hence many mid-level galleries and artists are left out. When we started the fair in Mumbai six years ago, we had many galleries from Delhi, who after seeing the response, suggested us to host a festival here,” Rajendra tells Metrolife.

“So it is an unbiased journey from Mumbai to Delhi and we are not competing with anyone. Our module is different,” he adds.

For Delhi edition, around 300 artists and 40 – national and international – galleries have come on board. The event will take place at the National Stadium from January 14 to 17, where galleries from Mumbai, Bangalore, Singapore, Dubai, Colombo and Switzerland will participate.

Rajendra’s initiation into the world of art was accidental. As an engineering student, way back in early 90s, he was introduced to various forms of art and its history via books of his roommate who was an art student. He didn’t change his career path, but continued his learning in art and contributed in various art magazines and journals while his career as an officer in a government job provided him stable income.

Six years back, he took voluntary retirement from the service and since then, the 46-year-old has been completely involved in art. The biggest concern for many in the art circle is that mediocrity is being promoted because of pushing PR and marketing skills. But Rajendra feels that first 10 years of any artist are riddled with confusion and chaos because he is still trying to find a voice in his medium of interest.

“I don’t believe in completely dismissing young artists because what they teach in art schools is not creativity, but how to deal with different mediums. So when they come out of college they are utterly confused. I am very sympathetic about these artists and feel that we should give them time before putting a question mark on their work,” he says.

“If they don’t have creativity, they won’t survive in the market. Something they do realise,” he adds.

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