Agility, resilience, lifelong learning – gallery directors at India Art Fair explain what it takes to be creative

In our third photo essay on this 13th annual showcase of Indian art, we feature more pictorial highlights and creativity insights. Enjoy!
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Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 600 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

After a two-year gap due to the pandemic, the annual India Art Fair (IAF) recently wrapped up its 2022 edition in New Delhi. See Part I and Part II of our coverage, and five-part showcase on the 2020 edition here).

India Art Fair Bookshop

The role of galleries and festivals

“Our gallery showcases art that is inclusive and breaks the boundaries of intimidation. This has resulted in a lot of shows fairs, biennales, and some successful auctions,” explains Preeti Garg, Director, Gallery Veda, in a chat with YourStory.

“The India Art Fair is a good platform as the galleries and artists showcase their best. There are a lot of events lined up in the city during the month. I urge all to visit Delhi during the fair to view art at its best,” she adds.

“Art is the thought process of creative minds, and can help in overcoming negatives of the situation with positive energies. This helps in a lot of healing and hence creating joy in our lives, despite the pandemic situation,” Preeti affirms.

“Art will always have a place in our lives. I can only see it creating impactful spaces in homes and interactive projects in commercial platforms. It will always be there, no matter what,” she explains.

India Art Fair facade

As trends in art, she sees the rise of new mediums for storytelling and buying of art. “The new artworks and interactions look different and also have a story to them, which is always in demand,” she adds.

“Younger collectors of art are being added to the list of buyers, and a lot of awareness is being created due to the social platforms,” Preeti observes.

“Gallery Espace is one of the oldest contemporary arts spaces in Delhi and can take pride in having turned the spotlight on art categories such as drawing, sculpture, print, and video that had been overlooked by collectors,” Renu Modi, Director, Gallery Espace, proudly says.

“In recent years, I consider one of our major achievements the digitisation of our programming with online exhibitions, and even a large exhibition, Abstract Notations, purely on Instagram,” she adds.

Conrad Shawcross - Study for Cloths of Heaven - Courtesy Galerie Isa

“Threshold has been a launch pad for over 50 artists who have created a niche. We have brought quality art to the forefront for the last 25 years,” says Tunty Chauhan, Director, Threshold Art Gallery.

“Over the last ten years, we have grown organically into a space that is known for artists from the South Asian region. We have made our international debut with Art Dubai 2022,” says Mandira Lamba, Cofounder, Gallery Blueprint 12.

“Our gallery has definitely seen many changes over the last few years. We luckily could quickly adopt the digital format of art shows, sensing it would inevitably extend audience reach,” explains Somak Mitra, Director/Owner, Art Exposure Gallery.

“The digital format proved very encouraging with many new faces leaning towards the art field in a way they wouldn’t have in the original physical format. Buyer queries increased that transformed into sales. That reinforced my belief in the digital market which is also swifter and easier,” he adds.

Faiza Hasan - Suno - BMW iX Commission Car

His gallery has expanded to an additional location in Kolkata, and had back-to-back exhibitions of eminent artists as well as shows of new entrants. “The emerging artists brought a new lease of life to their art forms using technology and interactive platforms to engage audiences,” he says.

“We are consolidating our relations with our represented artists. We are also enlarging and improving our main location in Brasilia, along with the nice space in São Paulo,” says Karla Osorio Netto, Director of Galeria Karla Osorio (GaKO).

“We are increasing connections with institutions and collectors, and reinforcing our activities online especially in pandemic times,” she adds.

Performance by Gurjeet Singh  

Tips for artists

Based on their extensive experience in the art field, the gallery founders and directors also offer tips and advice for aspiring artists.

“My most essential advice for aspiring artists is to follow their instincts without always looking behind their shoulders at the market, and to keep up their riyaaz, their practice, to keep polishing their craft,” says Renu Modi of Gallery Espace.

“The first thing is to know yourself and know what you want. There are no shortcuts, one has to learn the basics and get familiarised with all genres of art and study and observe the works of great masters and the established success stories of the contemporary world,” Somak Mitra of Art Exposure Gallery explains.

Neeraj Gupta - Book vs Tablet - Courtesy Chawla Art Gallery

“Practice and work regularly and update yourself with the latest. Observe trends, visit art shows, workshops and galleries. Try to keep creating and connecting,” he adds.

The key to striking a balance between creative success and commercial success is keeping an open mind where innovations, exchange and participation with others are very important. “A naturally creative person is adaptable, resilient, a lifelong learner, and drives innovative thoughts and ideas,” he adds.

Empowerment is fostered by keeping things flexible, exploring new concepts, and seeking new ventures, markets and audience. “There is a direct link between a creative mind and the ability to maximise commerce, performance and growth of self as an artist,” Somak affirms.

Preeti Garg of Gallery Veda advises artists to stick to their commitment with galleries and build a long-term relationship. “They should work on exclusivity on the creation and show progress in their work, especially for people who have invested in their works,” she suggests.

“We urge collectors to look out for works with quality and originality,” Preeti explains. They should visit galleries in their city to see shows and fairs to be aware of trends.

“Collectors should invest wisely in artists who are progressive in their work. Studio visits also help a great deal,” she adds.

P.R. Daroz - Guardian Series - Courtesy Gallery Nvya

Vida Heydari, Founder of Vida Heydari Contemporary (VHC), advises aspiring artists to be themselves and find their own creativity, instead of following trends or the market when creating art.

“Focus on work – develop your own independent vocabulary. That takes time and patience,” Tunty Chauhan of Threshold Art Gallery emphasises.

“Artists need to focus on what they do: create! The galleries are there to build on their career and eventually, success follows,” says Mandira Lamba of Gallery Blueprint 12.

“Just follow your instinct, keep exploring, and don't hesitate to experiment. Ultimately work, work and work,” Mandira signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?

Narayan Sinha - Engulf Installation

Galeria Karla Osorio installation  

Moving Focus book launch  

Nature Morte installation  

Performance by Gurjeet Singh  

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran - Spiky Head - Courtesy Jhaveri Contemporary

Elephant Trench

Performance at Kolkata Centre for Creativity booth  

(All images courtesy India Art Fair and respective curators/owners.)

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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