The Last Impressions
The booths have been dismantled, the tents are coming down and the artwork is wrapped and ready to return to the galleries from where they were transported to the India Art Fair (IAF) that concluded on Sunday. Even as Neha Kirpal, founder-director, IAF, and her team put the final figures together — sales and footfalls — in their East of Kailash office, gallerists are ready with their feedback. "The reactions to our works have been impressive. For us, the quality of the crowd is more important than the quantity, which was the case here," says Yuli Karatsiki of Kalfayan Galleries from Greece. "It's very important to build relations with local collectors. Compared to last year, there were more Indian collectors this time," she adds.
Some big galleries that participated last year, including Hauser & Wirth (New York and Zurich) and Britain's Lisson Gallery, were absent this time, but the fair did have its share of first timers — some of whom seemed to be happy with their India outing. "We were told that the Indian market is difficult to tap. But even though contemporary international artists such as Pakpoom Silaphan and Ye Hongxing are relatively unknown to Indians, universal themes appeal to everyone," says Jag Mehta, director, sales and marketing, SCREAM gallery, London. At his booth one saw Hongxing's canvases with patterns made from crystal stickers and Silaphan's pop art that used coke billboards imprinted with images of popular figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Frida Kahlo.
While Ashish Anand, director, Delhi Art Galley, shared that he sold works of over 20 masters, it was not just the veterans who found buyers. At Shrine Empire Gallery, red dots were seen besides works of New York based-artist Samantha Batra Mehta and Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera. "We sold over 50 per cent of the works," says gallerist Anahita Taneja. Among others, Perera's mixed media installation Memory Keeper: The Blue Cupboard — that borrows from the troubled political times in Sri Lanka — sold for Rs 3.75 lakh and Mehta's installation of antique objects, The Sum Total of Our Existence, went for Rs 2.5 lakh.