What Does the Future Hold for India’s Rapidly Growing Contemporary Art Market?

Vikram Goyal, Castello Console. 2023. Courtesy of Vikram Goyal

India Art Fair has established itself as the leading platform to discover modern and contemporary art from South Asia. Taking place annually in New Delhi, under the directorship of Jaya Asokan, the fair reflects the nation’s flourishing art scene, while offering curated glimpses into the cultural landscapes of neighbouring countries. In anticipation of India Art Fair’s 15th edition, which runs from 1 to 4 February 2024, Asokan offers Something Curated her first-hand insights into India’s rapidly evolving art landscape — always looking to the future.

Nuwan Nalaka, Prakriti I, 2022. Courtesy of Nuwan Nalaka and Saskia Fernando Gallery

This landmark 15th edition of India Art Fair has come at an exciting time for both the South Asian art scene and the market, with artists from the region becoming a part of international conversations like never before, both amongst curators and collectors. One of the biggest changes I have noticed in recent years is the increasing collaboration between commercial galleries, patrons and institutions, which has helped to support and bolster local art scenes.

Openings of new arts spaces like the NMACC in Mumbai, and soon to open Hampi Art Labs in Karnataka and the Brij Museum in New Delhi, are signs of a healthy and fast-developing art landscape. We’re seeing a mutual and symbiotic relationship between the market and the art scene. Just as a strong economy is supporting the growth in the art market, the thriving arts and cultural sector is feeding back into and creating value for other parts of the economy.

Since its founding in 2008, India Art Fair has helped to build and shape the art landscape in India. We are proud to be the leading fair in the region and a crucial annual meeting point for collectors, galleries, patrons and artists. We believe that the future of the arts is dependent on an expansive view of creative excellence and collaboration among disciplines.

Amba Sayal-Bennett, Dioptrique, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Indigo+Madder

The 2024 fair will be the largest and most ambitious to date, with more than 100 exhibitors from across India and the world, and a brand new Design section featuring collectible and limited-edition design. Leading Indian and international contemporary galleries will showcase masterpieces from Indian modernists to emerging artists alongside contemporary masters of traditional arts and renowned diasporic South Asian artists. Major artist commissions include an immersive installation by Sashikanth Thavudoz, winner of the expanded ‘The Future is Born of Art’ Commission led in partnership with BMW India, and the Outdoor Art Projects installed across the fairgrounds feature an interactive installation by Sajid Wajid Shaikh, winner of the new MTArt Agency x India Art Fair Artist Prize.

We also, of course, continue to pave the way for the growth of the art market. Galleries are making sales at all price points to both established collectors and a new millennial generation who will be instrumental in shaping the art market of the future. More and more younger collectors are entering the market driven by the social and emotional aspects of buying art, as well as the potential for financial return. Now in its third year, India Art Fair’s Young Collectors’ Programme will continue its focus on those starting out in their collecting journeys in an effort to create a lasting future and sustainable growth for the booming Indian art market.

We are growing beyond a 4-day fair. Beyond the exhibition halls, our city-wide Parallel Programme sees local galleries, institutions and collections organise special exhibitions and events across New Delhi, giving visibility to its vibrant cultural ecosystem. And we now run a year-round programme across the country including collectors’ weekends, gallery weekends and much more. The idea is to build strong networks throughout India and continue to evolve and grow into our unique position as the bridge and umbrella for the South Asian art landscape and market.

Gunjan Gupta, Mudha Walla Throne, 2016. Courtesy of Gunjan Gupta

We hope that this year, more than any other, visitors will see the real power and potential of South Asia at India Art Fair. There is no one South Asian aesthetic, and we have made an effort to represent the huge diversity of practices and artists in the region, each working in different mediums and on different themes. We also nurture and highlight young artists from the region, specially through our Artist in Residence and Digital Artist in Residence programmes, helping the emerging artists push their practices to the next level through ambitious projects at the fair. At the other end of the spectrum, we bring established and blue-chip international contemporary art to India, helping Indian collectors build world-class collections right here on home ground. And our talks by an illustrious group of experts is designed to inspire our visitors and fire their passion for art.

The world has finally shifted its focus to the Global South. We have laid the groundwork and created the infrastructure for the global rise of South Asian art and creativity, and hope to continue to build its future, collaborating with artists, galleries, studios and institutions in this endeavour.

As we grow as a fair, we remain focused on our mission to amplify the voices of the most exciting artists from the region and to support the expansion of South Asian creativity. In doing so, we hope to bring in thoughtful and artistic voices from fields spanning design, architecture and more into the fold. The hope is to build an art world without boundaries, the next necessary step for the growth of the art scene and market.

Written by Jaya Asokan. This article originally appeared on Something Curated.