Kiran Nadar Museum of Modern Art. “First of all, I was interested in Broota’s technique,” says Maharjan. Normally, artists use the additive technique, where you gradually add colours to the canvas. But Broota’s technique was subtractive, which means he first painted the canvas with colours, and then scratched it to gradually bring out different colours and make a picture. Apart from his paintings, the museum also displayed information about the evolution of his artwork, and his interviews. “Seeing his art was already stunning, but I also got to see the process of his artistry, which was quite phenomenal,” says Maharjan. “Besides, the artwork was displayed in a private museum which was inside a mall. “It was interesting to see how art was promoted,” says Maharjan. When the art was inside a mall, even people who are normally not concerned with art, say ordinary shoppers, could walk in, wander around, and take a look at art. A festival of arts While the fair was ongoing at the NSIC Exhibition Ground in Okhla, collateral art projects were being organised by galleries, museums and art organisations around the city. “I was very touched by how they got into the spirit and had their own exhibitions to coincide with the fair,” says Dangol. In essence, the entire city was in a festive mood; a festival of art, which turned the city into a cultural hub for those few days. One large-scale event had spurred a flurry of activity, and the spirit of cooperation was impressive. Compared to other international art fairs like the Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong Art Fairs, which routinely have more than 150 galleries each, the IAF was smaller, with less than a hundred booths. But the momentum and impact of the fair went far beyond the numbers. “At the fair, it was good to see art being promoted so enthusiastically by galleries,” says KC. For her, the organisation and management of the fair made the biggest impression, rather than any individual art piece. Every minute detail was looked at, and every little artwork displayed with prominence. Ultimately, the benefits of the well thought-out fair went to the artists. And the artists were not just Indian, but from countries around the world. One American gallery represented
an artist from Dhaka, while an Indian gallery represented a senior Nepali artist, Uma Shankar Shah.
The fair was an eye-opener in terms of how well contemporary art pieces can sell if they find the right platform.
Promoting the artists and their art Galleries and art organisations reserved booths and displayed the artwork of artists they deemed worthy of promoting at IAF. The artists, who did not have to pay to participate, benefited by having their works displayed at the event; their art reached out to the masses. In this way, fairs are also instrumental to the sale of artwork, which have a hard time finding buyers otherwise.
Even until a few years ago, art by Indian artists sold for a few thousand dollars, including art by internationally renowned artists like MF Hussain or VS Gaitonde. But since the IAF began, the organisers initiated collaborations with renowned auction houses in the UK like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The representatives of the auction houses made it a point to attend these fairs. After Christie’s auctioned MARCH 2015 SPACES / 73
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