The annual India Art Fair in New Delhi brings together gallerists, artists, patrons and art enthusiasts. Alongside a commercial presentation, there is focus on critical dialogue too via a strong robust talks programme. This year’s segment is titled Art Across, and the idea is to spark conversations on creativity sans boundaries. Experts from the interconnected disciplines of art, architecture, craft, design, technology and business are all set to deliberate on ways to foster an inclusive engagement with the arts. The programme is an opportunity for audiences to get insights directly from figures, who have played a key role in shaping contemporary art culture in recent years.
This year's programme pays special attention to the blurred lines between art, design, craft and architecture. “These are important conversations to be had with a stellar line-up of speakers, who have shaped the boundary-less creative field in the region today,” says Priya Chauhan, curator of the talks programme at India Art Fair 2024. Conversations will cover how design transcends functionality to become a vehicle for artistic expression, the influence of artistic movements on design trends, and the collaborative potential of artists and designers in creating innovative projects.
While designer Gunjan Gupta and Andrea Tomasi, editor-in-chief of Homo Faber Guide, are discussing art and craft collaborations, and a panel featuring Loïc Le Gaillard of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, designer-architect Ashiesh Shah and Greg Foster, artistic director, Jaipur Rugs is all set to deliberate on the intersections of art and design. “Also part of the programme are celebrated architects like Sameer Padora, principal architect at sP+a, Diana Kellogg, founder of the eponymous architecture firm, conservation architect and India CEO for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Ratish Nanda,” adds Chauhan.
Sessions also bring to fore the vital role of patronage in shaping the art ecosystem, with voices from the Global South, including Sangita Jindal, chairperson of the JSW Foundation and co-Founder of the Hampi Art Labs, Nadia Samdani, founder of the Samdani Art Foundation, Indian-American collector Komal Shah, and more. According to Chauhan, these personalities will reflect on how effective patronage is built on the principles of vision, collaboration and engagement. “Talks on this theme will also probe emerging trends in art patronage, such as the rise of individual collectors, corporate social responsibility initiatives and artist residency programs,” she says.
The curators’ roundtable promises insightful perspectives on the shifting landscape of curation and criticism in the contemporary art world. Discussions like ‘Beyond Borders’ will touch upon themes like decolonisation, inclusivity, and partnerships within the global art scene, driven by prominent museum directors from India and the world like Kamini Sawhney of the Museum of Art and Photography, Bengaluru, Klaus Biesenbach, director, Neue Nationalgalerie, and more. Additionally, talks will focus on emerging artists like Asim Waqif, Sajid Wajid Sheikh, Khatra, MYLES x Ameya, Thanghanghpa ‘Merci’ Maku and Mayuri Chari to deliberate on the future of art in South Asia.
For Chauhan, the vision behind the talks programme is to sow the seeds for new kinds of critical thought. “I am personally excited to see what new ideas and frameworks can emerge by having this concentration of creative leaders in one room — it feels unprecedented!” she adds. The talks are being recorded and will be made available to digital audiences through an online archive. “All that we do is grounded in belief in the transformative power of art and dialogue, and this year’s talks program promises to be one of the most inspiring yet,” says Chauhan.
The India Art Fair is being held at the NSIC Grounds, Okhla, till 4 February 2024
Also read: A map to the India Art Fair 2024