The Art Director
By Sumati Mehrishi | Published: 13th April 2014 06:00 AM |
Neha Kripal, 32, Founder and Director, India Art Fair
When Neha Kripal was studying at Delhi’s Lady Sri Ram College in the early 2000s, she did some wild things she rather would not talk about. But the wildest thing she has done afterwards is give the canvas-crazy Delhi India’s biggest art fair and place the art market of the capital of India on the global map. It has been six years since India Art Fair made a debut as the Indian Art Summit in 2008.
Neha is the one who gave the Indian art scene its single and most powerful shot of energy with out-of-the-box thinking. “There was low awareness for art among people. I was living in London and while passing art galleries,would often wonder how to generate interest among Delhiites in viewing art. The decision to return to India was driven by patriotism to change things,” she remembers. Neha says hotels are occupied top down during the India Art Fair. Galleries have pushed their limits and raised their standards. “In the last six years art related events have changed. There are art awards and simultaneous openings. It’s a total contrast to the lackadaisical approach of six years ago.”
When she started by scribbling a business plan on a barf bag on a flight from London to New Delhi in 2008, Neha didn’t know a thing about art. Not even when she convinced her employers at Hanmer MS&L in London to pony up a loan of `1 crore. “Folks in Delhi have this habit of saying they don’t have the money to start a business, or take up an idea or a hobby. I don’t like it. If you have an idea, there is no way you can’t give it a shape.”
Growing up in a middle class family, Neha had little interest in visiting art galleries. “I wish I had gone to art galleries as a child. Delhi lacked a culture scene during my formative years,” says the 32-year-old curator. According to her, Delhi is totally a different place today.
“Awareness for art is growing. People are taking immense interest and the interest from foreign artists, buyers and curators is being reciprocated,” says India’s youngest art diva.
View of India among people in the West: Someone asked me “How will we work at the fair? Does India have wi-fi?”
What do you do when you are free?
I am always on the look-out for new restaurants
Things you have learned in the last six years: To be very careful about what I say. I once ended up offending a well-known designer