“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” Picasso once said. Who is anyone to argue with the master of Cubism, Symbolism, and Surrealism? While we might not all be equipped to create art, there’s certainly nothing stopping us from indulging in it. The Indian art world is all set to dazzle connoisseurs over the next two months, with some of its finest displaying at events around the country. Here are four of the choicest art events to visit, before the year draws to a close.
Every year, twice a year, artists, gallerists, collectors, connoisseurs, curators, and dealers from around the country converge in Mumbai or Delhi for the India Art Festival, one of the biggest contemporary art fairs in the country. Its two most popular features are ‘Conversations’, a two-day seminar where experts come together to discuss art-related topics (such as the art and the economy, curating collections, the infrastructure of art, etc); and the IAF Artists’ Pavillion, a talent hunt of sorts dedicated to discovering emerging and radical talent. Founded in 2011, IAF hosts about 400 artists and 50 galleries each year, across mediums such as paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramic artwork, prints, lithography, installation art, and more.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, it’s only fitting that this year’s theme for South Asia’s biggest contemporary art event is ‘Possibilities For A Non-Alienated Life’. The fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, also often known as the ‘People’s Biennale’, will be curated by 60-year-old Anita Dube, a contemporary artist best known for her political artwork. It will last for 109 days and feature 80 artists from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. The biennale is going to be all about fostering human connections, while encouraging dialogues that force participants to ask questions about liberty and listening to marginalised voices. It’s an event no art lover can afford to miss.
Spread over eight days, SAF is a multi-disciplinary festival that aims to bring a cultural change in the field of arts in India. The 2018 edition of SAF will see over 80 projects across photography, crafts, theatre, music, dance, and visual and culinary arts. The festival has been curated by 14 eminent curators, including Arundhati Nag, Sneha Khanwalkar, Ranjana Dave, Odette Mascarenhas, among others. The festival’s aim is to foster a spirit of collaboration and co-operation between established and emerging Indian artists, while exposing more people to art as a medium that provokes, questions the status quo and breaks mental and physical barriers.
Started in 2015 by the Orissa Tourism Department, this unique art festival is held every year at the Chandrabhaga Beach, about 3km from Konark, at the same time as the famous five-day Konark Festival nearby. The festival sees sand artists from India and around the world compete to create the most spectacular sand art sculptures using wood, stone, bronze and other materials in addition to, of course, sand. Previous editions have seen exhibits by renowned artists from Mexico, Spain, Singapore, France, Norway, Germany, Netherland, and USA, among others, competing for the prize of rupees one lakh, awarded to the best artwork in the festival. With Padma Shree awardee Sudarshan Pattnaik as its brand ambassador, the festival is only set to become bigger and more spectacular by the year.