Raja Ravi Varma's first commissioned family portrair presented at the India Art Fair 2023. The 1870 oil painting, showcased at the DAG booth depicts a sub-judge of Mangalore, Kizhakke Palat Krishna Menon and his wife Palat Induooly Amma, and their three children. Visitors looking at the painting at the 14th India Art Fair, at NSIC Grounds in New Delhi.
This year, the India Art Fair focuses on a distinct amalgamation of art and technology, including an extended Studio presenting its ‘Digital Artist in Residence’ programme, an online platform for artists to come up with new digital artworks. Based on the theme ‘Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary’, visual artist and illustrator Mira Felicia Malhotra has highlighted the oddities and idiosyncrasies of Indian family life in vibrant portraits of women titled “Log Kya Kahenge”.
“This year, the India Art Fair raises the bar, boldly presenting its most ambitious edition to date. With an expanded programme of galleries, talks, performances, workshops, a new all-woman artist posterzine, and the first-ever Young Collectors Hub in the city, the fair sets the stage for powerful artists' voices to be heard loud and clear,” Jaya Ashokan, fair director, said. Other art projects include a monumental marble dust sculpture resembling a pelvic bone by Prashant Pandey that references the moment of birth, and a curated presentation of Serendipity Arts Foundation’s Food Lab Project.
In a similar fashion, poet-writer Gaurav Ogale is participating with an audio-visual book anthology series ‘Bestsellers’ to explore “the extraordinary biographies of ordinary people”. This year’s outdoor art projects include Parag Tandel’s sculptural installation of the seven small islands that constituted Mumbai before it grew into a mega metropolis and an 8-feet tall and twisted fibreglass scale by Shivani Aggarwal to symbolically measure the intangible emotions such as love, joy, intimacy and truth.
Right across Husain's painting is American visual artist Andy Warhol’s Mao in silkscreen on paper, presented by Bruno Art Group. While the DAG boasts of a selection of modernist masters, including Husain, FN Souza, Jamini Roy, and Raja Ravi Varma, Dhoomimal Gallery has on show Krishen Khana’s bronze bandwallahs and works by Satish Gujral, Ram Kumar, SH Raza, and Sakti Burman, among others.
The Death of Gandhi by the peerless Tom Vattakuzhy.Twitter/ @AmbarishSatwik
Tom Vattakuzhy's oil painting titled 'The Death of Gandhi' is at the display at the India Art Fair. The art fair will come to a close on February 12.
Vikrant Bhise at Anant ArtPTI
The politically vocal side of art is also featured in the works of artists like Vikrant Bhise and Mayuri Chari who depicted Dr BR Ambedkar and women’s bodies, respectively. In a readily recognisable hue of blue, Bhise highlights the struggles of the Ambedkarite movement, including the condition of labourers, atrocities against SC/ST communities, the 1997 Ramabai killings and the suicides of Rohith Vemula and Payal Tadavi.
Chari, in her seminal work - ‘I Was Not Created For Pleasure’, looks at how women’s bodies are interpreted in the modern Indian society and tries to reclaim the space hitherto dominated by men.
While a large section of the grand fair is dominated by contemporary artists, art lovers seem intrigued by ‘Valmiki’s Vision of Sunderkand’, one of MF Husain's last paintings, which is being exhibited at a booth by Crayon Art Gallery. The fair also features 10 leading cultural festivals, collectives and foundations, including soft sculptures and book projects by Britto Arts Trust (Dhaka); a series of textile panels by Lakshmi Madhavan for Devi Art Foundation (New Delhi); a group show with works by Siwan-based ceramicist Upendra Ram and Chari.