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15 Indian galleries unite on a single art platform

TAP India is the latest in a series of digital initiatives taken by the art world during the pandemic

‘Face to Face’ by Tanmoy Samanta. Photo: courtesy Gallery Espace
‘Face to Face’ by Tanmoy Samanta. Photo: courtesy Gallery Espace

Ever since the nationwide lockdown was first announced in March, bringing with it a closure of physical spaces, the art world has constantly been exploring the possibilities of the digital realm. Instead of going the solo route, galleries are pooling in their collective energies to create common online platforms to showcase exhibitions and curate programming. For instance, April witnessed the launch of ‘In Touch’, featuring digital shows by galleries like Chemould Prescott Road, Experimenter, Nature Morte, Grey Noise, and more. The platform is currently presenting its third edition of exhibitions. And now, another set of 15 galleries and institutions has collaborated on ‘The Art Platform’, or ‘TAP India’, all set to launch in the first week of August.

Sharon Apparao, founder-director of the Chennai-based Apparao Galleries, who is leading the initiative, calls this a “one-stop platform to know all about modern and contemporary art". As of now, ‘TAP India’ features names such as Gallery White, Emami Art, Gallery Threshold, Akar Prakar, Gallery Espace and Gallery Latitude 28. “During the pandemic, we have seen how technology has helped bridge distances. This seems to be the natural route to take right now," she says. These days one can find the participating gallerists in constant discussion about the final design to ensure that the website is ready by end of this month. “The way things are, collaboration is key to tiding through these times," says Reena Lath, director, Akar Prakar.

’An Aphorism from the Lotus Sutra’ by V. Ramesh. Photo: courtesy Gallery Threshold
’An Aphorism from the Lotus Sutra’ by V. Ramesh. Photo: courtesy Gallery Threshold

On ‘TAP India’s’ website, each gallery is curating its own page. Some are choosing to highlight the diversity of their artist portfolio, while others are showing a few artists in depth. For instance, Gallery Threshold is displaying works by only four artists such as V. Ramesh, Indropramit Roy and Rahul Inamdar. One of the works that stands out on the page is Ramesh’s An Aphorism from the Lotus Sutra (2018), a watercolour on paper, which speaks of greed, suffocation, possession and a feeling of being smothered. The artist has drawn on myriad references from Indian mythology and devotional poetry, particularly the two symbols of the lotus and fish to highlight the coexistence of beauty and violence. The masters are represented on Akar Prakar’s page, in the form of four works each by Somnath Hore and Ganesh Haloi. Gallery Espace, instead of putting together an online group show, is doing a solo presentation of recent works by Tanmoy Samanta, titled ‘The After Life of Objects’. The influence of his student years at Kala Bhawan, Santiniketan, is obvious in Samanta’s choice of medium—gouache and tempera on paper. He uses a simple visual language to bring out stories of everyday objects.

Besides showing exhibitions, ‘TAP India’ will be putting up talks and online events once a month as well. “All the partner galleries could come together as part of a theme or a single gallery might be in focus once a month," says Tunty Chauhan, director, Gallery Threshold. The idea is to reach out to both existing and aspiring collectors by making art accessible during the pandemic. “Each gallery will benefit from the footfall to this common platform. All prices will be put up on the website to maintain transparency. It cuts out the bother of connecting with individual galleries for such details," says Apparao.

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