Nepali artists ready for India Art Fair

KATHMANDU: The ninth edition of the India Art Fair (IAF), an annual Indian modern and contemporary art fair and South Asia’s most awaited fair, is scheduled from February 2-5 at the NSIC grounds, Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi, India.

The IAF is the largest platform to experience contemporary art of South Asia and beyond. The programmes in IAF include lectures, projects, films, curated events, and more. The fair aims for the visitors to get the opportunity to discover the best galleries in the region and beyond.

The IAF acts as a portal to showcase the diverse cultural landscape of the region through the medium of visual art. That includes modern and contemporary installation, paintings, sculptures, et cetera from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries except the Maldives; and then there are representatives from the United States, UAE, Portugal, France, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, Greece, Austria, Israel and Singapore, among others.

The first edition of IAF took place in 2008. Since 2016, the MCH Group, a leading international group of live-marketing companies, joined Angus Montgomery — an internationally renowned group of exhibition organising companies with offices and events on five continents — and with Neha Kirpal, the Founding Director of IAF, they became the co-owners of IAF.

This year there will be over 70 booths in the exhibition at IAF with focus on South Asia. This year the Nepal Art Council (NAC) is representing Nepal in the IAF and it is the second time that NAC is representing Nepal in this sought-after fair. Six artists — Anil Shahi, Kabiraj Lama, Koshal Hamal, Sandhya Silwal, Sanjeev Maharjan and Sunil Sigdel — have been chosen to represent Nepal at IAF where Art Historian Dr Dina Bangdel, also a board member of NAC, is going to curate the exhibition at IAF.

Talking about the importance of taking part in IAF, Dr Bangdel said, “IAF is a very prestigious fair and we represented Nepal since 2016. The most important thing is that we got selected for IAF and we are proud that we got special invitation to participate in IAF 2017. The selection is very competitive. Moreover, in these years, IAF has moved to being less commercial and in the direction that really showcases the best of the best. The platform series highlights visual art from South Asian countries and Nepal is also included in it.”

The IAF is also a place where  participating artists get promotion. “The IAF is not only about the exhibition, but a place where scholars, art historians, collectors among others come together under same roof. Thus, it is also an important venue where they get to understand and learn about the art scenario,” added Swosti Rajbhandari Kayastha, Curator/ Public Relations at  NAC.

According to Dr Bangdel, art in Nepal was always religious and it was easy to get support as people have religious beliefs and faith, making people always willing to support art. “As for modern and contemporary art, it is even more important — as contemporary art is the truth of the current state that talks about the political, social and economic condition of the country. So, art is not only about beautiful things but through it, artists are making very important critical statements. The IAF is a very prestigious fair renowned around the world as one of the most awaited fairs held in the South Asian region followed by scholars and collectors alike.”