Act II: Steady Step Forward
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The second edition of the India Art Festival begins on November 28 on a larger scale than its predecessor.
The inaugural edition of the India Art Festival (IAF) held last November at the Nehru Centre, Worli, was an important milestone as far as art festivals in Mumbai went. Until this event took place, the city had almost no large-scale art fairs or festivals to speak of, apart from the Kala Ghoda festival. But this four-day festival proved that Mumbai, one of the most important centres for art in the country, had almost been waiting for something of the sort. More than 26,000 people in all attended and nearly all the booths registered good sales.
It seems to make sense then that this year's edition of the festival will be bigger on most counts. To be held between November 28 and December 2, the festival will go on for five days. In addition, the venue has been shifted to the MMRDA Grounds, Bandra-Kurla Complex, giving the organisers much more space to work with.
"The demand for space by artists and art galleries grew almost two-fold after last year's festival," says Rajendra Patil, director of both editions, adding, "Nehru Centre was a good venue but it did not have enough space to accommodate more participants than last year." Last year, artists and galleries from 20 cities around the world were represented, this year that number has gone up to 50.
When IAF was held last year, the market was not at its best and the condition of the market was one of the topics of discussion at the conference. Since then, however, it has seemingly improved. Poet, art critic, curator and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote believes so but says the process of recovery is slow. "The art market is going through a slow, continuing cycle of correction and recovery. It may not ascend to the dizzying heights of the boom, but it will achieve a steady state in due course," he says. This year, Hoskote holds the position of convener of the two-day IAF Conversations that he has put together.