The a la mode art scene in India is evolving almost on a daily basis. Ably supported by galleries, young and upcoming artists are finding their voice. The Delhi Contemporary Art Week (DCAW) promises to showcase the capital’s best contemporary art under one roof.
The third edition is scheduled to be held from September 1 and will go on till September 8, encouraging collectors and enthusiasts to come together for conversations around art on one platform.
Says Roshini Vadehra of Vadehra Art Gallery, “DCAW is a wonderful opportunity for galleries and collectors to engage on a cohesive platform. Collectors are exposed to contemporary art in an informal manner, and it is an opportunity to get introduced to various artists and mediums at a reasonable price point. This time, there is also an effort in programming with various walkthroughs of different groups to see the exhibition and interact with gallerists and the works in an intimate setting.”
The idea for DCAW germinated in a conversation between Bhavna Kakar of Latitude 28 and Anahita Taneja of Shrine Empire, and later with Roshini Vadehra.
Bhavna took the lead and has been instrumental in seeing this through to its third edition. Says Bhavna, “The need for a curated platform for contemporary art led me to start DCAW.
It allows me to showcase works of younger artists who are creating compelling work that engage with the rapidly fluctuating infrastructure, economy, ecology, landscape and identity politics of our times, and are pushing the limits of aesthetics in ways that would have been unprecedented even a decade ago.”
Comprising seven galleries and 50 artists, the event will have curated walks, talks, workshops and more. The seven galleries participating in this edition are: Blueprint 12, Gallery Espace, Exhibit 320, Latitude 28, Nature Morte, Shrine Empire and Vadehra Art Gallery.
“I have always been open to literature, cinema and painting—nourishing my hunger for images. Intuitively, I seek out images of emotional upheaval as in the cinema of Ingmar Bergman, the poetry of Sylvia Plath or the dark European medieval paintings,” says the artist, whose work comes loaded with poetic symbolism, cross-pollinated by references from a broad array of cultures and historical periods. “Ultimately, I want all this to push me to create a visual theatre that enchants and pierces deep within. At the same time, I approach this creative possibility with irony and self-doubt.”
His instinct is to examine the world from the ground up. “I like to look under stones, so to say. This curiosity shaped my practice as an artist and environmentalist and led me to work on labour, degraded landscapes and human-nature interactions. I saw connections in all these and understood how the reduction of man-nature relationship was foundational to the alienation,” says Agarwal, who is also an environmental activist,
writer and curator. His works merge politics, society and philosophy to arrive at the deep-rooted ecological crisis in our systems, making it the core of his practice.
Her art refers to universal experiences of being a woman. Says this Sri Lanka-based artist, “Women all over the world have been struggling against patriarchy. This is an issue in Sri Lanka as well. My work is part of the resistance to this.”
At the same time, her work also has commented on other issues such as conflict, identity, urbanity, migration, displacement and memory. “I would say my work is informed of feminist theoretical discourses and therefore my art practice is conditioned by my gender.”
This miniature artist studied the old painted manuscripts belonging to various time periods, which are now referred as ‘miniature paintings’.
“For me, this art form emerging from the early palm leaf paintings of the ninth century to most advanced period of the Mughal empire (1526-1757) followed by Company School Paintings. Miniature painting has always been ‘contemporary’ and addresses the popular culture of its time.”
She believes that the current artists of today do take influences while studying these works, which include all the compositional values and colour balancing.
“The language may be the same, but everyone has their own unique visual for communication.”