"New challenges trigger new ideas, and it’s time to think differently," says founder Vinit Nair of the Vadodara-based Gallery White. Maybe this is what prompted him to collaborate with The Art Platform (TAP) India—a collective comprising 14 galleries from across the country.
Blurring the lines between artists, galleries and collectors, TAP India aims to combine and generate more visibility, explore newer markets and open private doors to conversations.
The idea took birth when Sharan Apparao, founder and director of Delhi-based Apparao Galleries, realised that the lockdown needed a cumulative answer from the arts community. "The idea is to have a one-stop platform to collaborate and present a varied collection. It will be a treat for collectors and those looking to understand about what to buy," she says.
With galleries pooling in their shared energies through TAP, it is hoped that a window can be opened into the best of art. From avid art collectors, to someone who is thinking of investing in their first piece or simply an art connoisseur, the platform wants to offer the best.
At the first online exhibition, Gallery White will be showcasing works by N Divya, Sarika Mehta and Alok Bal through a show titled ‘'Home'. While conversations around public spaces mark Mehta’s and Bal’s practice, Divya questions the internalisation of the existing.
Together they navigate the politics of space, sovereignty, and social contract. For Delhi-based gallery, Akar Prakar, the collaboration with TAP India has been a seamless diversification into the digital medium. Over the past few months, the gallery has made use of these extraordinary times to revamp its website and launch Online Viewing Rooms and an online buying platform.
New exhibitions would be added periodically to the TAP website. Initiatives such as #TapTalks and #TapEvents and many more are in the pipeline that would be curated every 15 days in collaboration with eminent players of the industry. Also, as a support towards art enthusiasts, the platform will focus on tips and suggestions from the industry’s best for existing buyers as well as budding collectors.
"In these uncertain times, art brings hope and builds understanding across cultures. TAP India will help make Indian contemporary art easily accessible to new and remote art lovers across the globe," says Anant Art founder director Mamta Singhania.
The gallery will be participating with recent works on paper by artist Probir Gupta, whose works revolve around the theme of space and time.
Mumbai-based Anupa Mehta Arts will be exhibiting the latest works of artist Sachin Tekade. Known for his obsession with creasing, folding and cutting paper, Tekade lets Indian myths and realities shape his artistic vocabulary.
While most galleries will have predominantly Indian artists, Ajay Rajgaarhia, founder of the Delhi-based Wonderwall Gallery, will be showcasing works by Dutch artist Paul Brouns, Lahore-based Waleed Zafar, Australian artist Amber Hammad, besides Delhi-based photographer Prarthana Modi.
Talking about the platform that has made it possible for him to boast a varied viewing experience, he says, "Traditional methods of doing business have to be re-evaluated. The future is online and contact-less sales. Such an initiative will help us produce better results than individual efforts."
It's not just contemporary art that is getting a platform. Tribal Art Form, a collaboration between Delhi-based galleries Exhibit 320 and Blueprint12, showcases the traditional arts, one of them being Ahmedabad-based Sanjay Manubhai Chitara’s kalamkari works.
Chitara paints the Mata ni Pachedi (Cloth of Mother Goddess) using natural dyes. He has been doing it for more than 10 decades now. Today, this cloth has become a collector’s delight. Mandira Lamba, Ridhi Bhalla and Rasika Kajaria, who brought forth the Tribal Art Form, talk of their vision to enable folk and indigenous art forms to travel from its origins into the mainstream art world.
The artworks are priced from Rs 50,000 and go up to over Rs 20 lakh. Apparao reiterates that TAP is not an e-commerce platform. An interested buyer can directly contact the gallery through the platform and take the sales forward. As the Greek philosopher Aristotle put it so aptly: "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."