Noelle Kadar Tells Us Why You Have To Visit the 2017 India Art Fair

Art Wise

The 9th edition of the India Art Fair is being held in New Delhi from February 2-5, 2017. South Asia’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art, the India Art Fair has quickly become one of the biggest events in the world of Indian art, with thousands of visitors each year. In an interview with Artisera, Noelle Kadar - VIP Relations Director, India Art Fair, tells us what to expect at the 2017 edition.

Is there a specific theme at the 2017 India Art Fair? What will be different compared to previous years?

The focus of the fair remains to bring the best work from the South Asia region to national and international audiences. This is demonstrated both through the galleries exhibiting, and India Art Fair’s programming. For example, Platform, a significant section at the fair, will be returning for a second year, which is designed to provide an opportunity for established and emerging South Asian galleries, artists and artist collectives to exhibit. We are also particularly pleased to be launching Vernacular In Flux, curated by Dr. Annapurna Garimella, which highlights practitioners of vernacular (tribal and folk) art forms, the largest group of artists in India today. 

In addition, it is fantastic that the fair will be showing so much photography and moving image work this year, with 3 galleries specifically showing photography including Tasveer Arts, Wonderwall, and Photoink.

Is there continued focus this year to promote art from the Indian subcontinent? What is the response from gallerists and collectors from other parts of the world?

We position ourselves as a South Asian fair, and so, the majority of galleries come from, or show work from South Asia. Having said that, we have always had a positive response from gallerists from around the world. This year, we have 72 exhibitor booths from across Asia, Middle East, Europe and USA, representing a breadth of contemporary art practices. It is great to welcome back a number of notable international galleries such as Grey Noise (Dubai) and Aicon (New York), as well as welcome new exhibitors to the fair from who are keen to develop relationships with the Indian art market, such as Kalfayan Galleries (Athens) and Lukas Feichtner Galerie (Vienna).

We are also delighted with our international VIP outreach and will have prominent collectors attending from 20 different countries, including collectors from Southeast and East Asia, such as Rocky David (Philippines) and Marisa Chearavanont (Hong Kong).

(Installation titled 'Sound of Silence', by Paresh Maity, at India Art Fair 2016)

Do you find that Indian buyers are interested in buying art from international artists? Or is there a much stronger affinity for well-known Indian names?

I would say the majority of Indian collectors still look to South Asian artists. One of the strengths of the India Art Fair is its regional focus on South Asia, and as such, most of the buyers we see at the fair, do come to look for South Asian art.

There’s sometimes a pre-conceived notion that fairs such as this only exhibit very expensive art. Is there some presence of affordable art at the IAF as well?

There is usually a range in prices at the fair. Gallerists tend to bring a variety of work to appeal to both established and young collectors who are just starting to develop an interest in art. India Art Fair is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in artistic practices presented by galleries from around the world. There is a lot to experience even if you aren’t looking to buy.

Tell us about the curated walks being organized at India Art Fair.

The curated walks are led by art students and have always been a popular fixture at the fair, helping new audiences to navigate the fair and prompt conversation and understanding of what they see. Themes for this year's walks will include Photography, Contemporary Art, Modern Art, Young Artists, Art Projects and Vernacular and its influence.

(A visitor at the Pichwai: Tradition and Beyond booth at India Art Fair, 2016)

The Swiss-based MCH Group, which owns the Art Basel franchise, announced in September 2016 that it had acquired a stake in the India Art Fair. What does this mean for IAF?

India Art Fair will now come under the Design and Regional Art Fairs unit, a new strategic initiative of MCH Group to build a portfolio of leading regional art fairs, that currently consists of Design Miami, Design Miami Basel and India Art Fair.

This will enable us to benefit from MCH Group’s knowledge, expertise and connections whilst retaining our identity. The partnership will enable us to elevate the fair to the next level of its development and continue to cement our position as the leading regional fair in South Asia, however there will be no change to the brand-identity of the fair.

What advice would you give to first time visitors and new collectors planning to attend the India Art Fair?

It can be a very busy few days with the art fair and its collateral events, so I would encourage people to look at the schedule and decide what events they want to go to in advance, while making sure they factor in enough time for Delhi traffic!

India Art Fair brings together an incredible group of collectors, artists, curators and gallerists and I’d encourage new collectors to talk to as many people as they can. I’d also suggest they look at our Speakers’ Forum programme and our series of Collectors in Conversation talks, as we have some great speakers ranging from young Indian collectors to prominent international collectors, such as Carl Christian Aegidius, a private collector from Luxembourg; Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation; Frédéric de Goldschmidt, a French collector based in Brussels; and Komal Shah, a tech executive based in Silicon Valley.

(Delhi Art Gallery Modern's Booth at India Art Fair 2016)

And finally, what are the 3 things that visitors should look out for at India Art Fair 2017?

Speakers’ Forum - We have an exciting range of speakers at our Speakers’ Forum this year and talks ranging from conversations with collectors to discussions on digital innovation in art. Particularly notable are Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Sheena Wagstaff, the Leonard A. Lauder Chairman for Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Both will sit on The Future of Museums panel.

Platform - which I mentioned earlier, is a big highlight, and something I think visitors should look out for. This year Platform will include Britto Arts Trust (Dhaka, Bangladesh), Nepal Art Council (Kathmandu, Nepal), Theertha International Artists' Collective (Colombo, Sri Lanka) and Blueprint 12 (New Delhi, India).

BMW Art Car - An important milestone for us, over the years, has been the unprecedented amount of corporate support for the fair. BMW will be returning as Presenting Partner for the second year in a row. Like last year, they will be displaying one of their Art Cars, a series of cars painted by artists which BMW launched in the 70s. This year, BMW will display Sandro Chia's 1992 Art Car, a BMW 3-Series Racing Prototype. The work reflects the cultural and historical development of art, design and technology.

(The BMW Art Car at India Art Fair 2016)

The India Art Fair is being held from February 2-5 at the NSIC Exhibition Ground, Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi, India.

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