The presence of top foreign galleries at the India Art Summit is a reminder of the worldwide interest in Indian art.
The western wind blowing at the ongoing India Art Summit at Hall No. 7 of Pragati Maidan has brought along happy tidings. There are as many as 16 galleries from abroad at the summit, who have come scouting for young talent in India. In fact, most of them have already pocketed some of the choicest contemporary names from India with great success, representing them in reputed A- list art shows globally.
Till the economic downturn knocked sense out of our heads, the story from the world of Indian art had read thus – the masters had finally been acknowledged, they’d earned their crores and a place in history, and now, it was the turn of the contemporaries. Some among them like Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat and T. V. Santhosh had even begun scaling heights, but then, the juggernaut of recession hit us all.
Like Erben, Rob Dean from London, of Rob Dean Art Ltd., affirms the views of his New York counterpart. Dean, who was Christie’s representative in India in 1998-2000, says, “In 2003, I had done a show with these artists who included Jitish Kallat and Atul Dodiya, and only one painting had been sold. Now most of them have made the move from domestic to international circuit.” Dean calls it a drip-down effect and adds, “With many young collectors now, contemporary Indian artists are going to be in demand.” While London and New York are the first stops for any Indian artist travelling abroad, it’s the representation from countries such as Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Japan and China at the summit that makes the foreign interest in Indian art worth noting. Katja W. Ott, representing Beck & Eggeling gallery from Dusseldorf, Germany, (along with the managing partner Stefan Wimmer), says, “India is a very popular destination for German tourists. They are enamoured of the whole cultural package, and that includes art. Some Indian artists, such as M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza and S.H. Raza among masters and contemporaries such as Subodh Gupta are known very well to connoisseurs
Art, a day before the beginning of the summit, at Agni at The Park, where he had come in the company of Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher. Talking about his interest in Indian art, he said, “There is a lot of interest in the US. Subodh Gupta is a name that is already very well known and we are consistently showing young, emerging artists from India in our show.” Birendra Pani is one such name. Other international names, like the Arario, with galleries in Beijing and New York, and the HB Galerie of Hans Bakker from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, are also participating, though they are not showing any Indian artist. But, their presence affirms their growing interest in Indian art, and presumably, contemporary is the way to go. Now, only if recession would get over quickly.