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Indian Art Fair Opens with Hopes of Expanded Market
   2016-01-30 19:38:44    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Mao Yaqing

The photo taken on January 28, 2016 shows an Indian man looks on at the India Art Fair in New Delhi, India. [Photo: CFP]

As the world's second most populous country, India has only captured a very small portion of the global art market. International and local industry veterans have gathered at the India Art Fair in New Delhi, and many are hoping to see an expanded Indian influence in the art world.

CRI's Victor Ning with more.


With a focus on South Asia, this year's India Art Show has attracted artists from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

More than 70 galleries and museums from the US, the UK and France are also here.

The show features a vibrant display of contemporary art works by well-known and emerging artists.

India has seen a steadily increasing number of galleries. Still, the country's share of the world's art market remains small.

Amit Vadehra is a managing partner at New Delhi-based Crayon Art Gallery. He says India's art market has fallen behind those of other developing nations, like China.

"A very small blimp at the moment. China and India used to be equal at some point of time and now China has overtaken about 13 to 15 percent of the world market. India is still yet to get to that level. Primarily museums in China are in thousands, we are only counting less than 10 or less than 5 at the moment. So the exposure to Indian art is less."

Vadehra says the Indian art market is valued at around 300 million US dollars.

Many works by modern Indian masters have fetched over 1 million US dollars at global auctions. But most of them were acquired by foreign buyers.

Leading Indian contemporary artist Anjolie Ela Menon has shown her work in the US. She encourages young Indian artists to exhibit their work in the West.

"The first boom when everyone said that Indian art was going global was really supported by the diaspora. It was mostly Indians abroad who were buying the art, so it wasn't that it was being accepted. But some of us have been very lucky ĘC I have a large work at the Asian art museum in San Francisco. This year many artists have been placed in good museums in America and I think to a certain extent America still calls the shots."

Menon estimates that India has up to 700,000 full-time artists. But she says the country does not offer large enough of an audience to develop their careers.

Some Indian museums, like the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, are working towards art education and awareness.

Currently, India lacks institutional support for the art community to gain exposure.

Crayon Art Gallery's Vadehra says Indian art has the potential to become a viable industry, if better infrastructure is provided.

"With auction houses, with private galleries which is now showing in art fairs, a lot of transactions happening privately as well as in auctions in India and internationally. I think it is set up to be a commerce which is viable, which is feasible, which can grow in multiple dimensions."

This year's India Art Fair runs until Sunday.

For CRI, I'm Victor Ning.



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