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Neither a private gallery nor a large-scale fair, India’s first hotel art fair opens in Delhi

As director of Dhoomimal Gallery, one of the oldest in Delhi, Uday Jain has for years closely witnessed the numerous changes in the art market first-hand. And Delhi’s decision to host the country’s arguably first hotel art fair seemed exciting to him from the very onset.

“It is a popular concept abroad and given our art market, it makes absolute sense to bring it to India as well. It is a more private and informal setting than an art gallery and not as large-scale as what a bigger art fair would be. So it’s a good blend,” says Jain.

On Friday, as the audience headed to the second floor of the Taj Palace hotel, designed like an art district, people who own or run galleries and artists were seen discussing works that adorn corridors and rooms, where beds had been removed for additional exhibition space.

Conceived by fashion entrepreneurs Malvika Poddar and Timsy Anand and gallerist Payal Kapoor, the fair intends to bridge the gap between artists and collectors. “Our focus is to develop new art collectors and also offer something unique to older collectors…The fair has some very interesting placements in the rooms that have been converted into immersive art spaces,” says Kapoor, director of Arushi Arts.

Taj Hotel Art Exhibit Art exhibition at the Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

The participants include over 20 galleries—from Cultivate Art to Anant Art Gallery, Art Pilgrim and Art Centrix—as well as independent artists and private collectors, including Lekha Poddar and Priya Paul, who are sharing works from their collection.

The display ranges from modernists such as V S Gaitonde, Ram Kumar, M F Husain, S H Raza and Sakti Burman to contemporary artists, to textile presented as art to jewellery based on drawings. Also on sale is folk and tribal art and Raja Ravi Varma prints.

“Our brief to every participant was to show art that means something,” says Kapoor. “We will look to expand the scale of the event in the coming years, and the monitoring committee will ensure that a certain standard is maintained. Apart from being an annual event in Delhi, we will also organise it in one more Indian city every year.”

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Opting to showcase her photographs in a solo space, photographer Prarthana Modi notes that the set-up also allows for interaction between the artists and the audience. She is sharing photographs of cities from the world over, London to Amsterdam, New York to Paris.

Taj Hotel Art Exhibit While curated art walks have been planned during the three-day event, efforts are also being made to initiate children into art, with school students enrolled as interns. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

“Photography, unfortunately, has not yet taken off as art in India as it has abroad,” she rues.

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While curated art walks have been planned during the three-day event, efforts are also being made to initiate children into art, with school students enrolled as interns. “They will be learning the process of an art fair… We hope to fulfil our endeavour of enjoyment, luxury, viewership as well as education,” says Kapoor.

Get more updates on Delhi News Today. Also get Latest News Updates on G20 India Summit at The Indian Express.

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