Updated: January 8, 2022 11:47:02 am
It was more than a year ago that Sunaina Anand, director of Art Alive gallery, booked the venue for an exhibition at Delhi’s Bikaner House. To take place from January 13 to 22, the tripartite exhibition that brings together works of Sakti Burman and Maite Delteil and their daughter Maya Burman, has now been postponed due to the rising COVID cases in the Capital. “We had planned the show months in advance, hoping that things would normalise by now, but who would have thought this would happen. We are ready to put up the exhibition but the space has been shut for now due to the rising cases. The exhibition will be rescheduled once we get new directives from the government,” says Anand.
With the COVID cases in the Capital spiraling, several major art exhibitions are being postponed even though private galleries are still allowed to operate. “We are open but people have reservations regarding visiting galleries at a time like now,” says Renu Modi, director of Gallery Espace. She recalls how the opening of her last show in the gallery in the first week of December was very well-received but given the current situation in Delhi, she has decided to postpone her next exhibition, which is the solo of artist Manisha Gera Baswani. “It will not do justice to the work. Not many people will come to the gallery. We will most likely open it in April,” says Modi.
While the fourth quarter of 2021 saw several exhibitions of prominent artists opening in Delhi, the already economically impacted art industry is being cautious with India seeing the beginning of a third wave. Last week, India Art Fair (IAF) — one of the key elements in the country’s culture calendar, was postponed from February to April (April 28-May 1). Jaya Asokan, director, IAF, stated, “Everything else remains the same: the venue, fantastic art, and a huge (and safe) celebration of culture. We know the situation is unpredictable, but team India Art Fair with support from our artists, exhibitors and partners is ready to deliver a fair as dynamic and fresh as ever, come April.”
While Subodh Gupta’s exhibition that was to begin at Nature Morte gallery in January will now take place later in the year, the same is for artist Ravinder Dutt’s exhibition “Mythos and The Historian” which was scheduled to take place at Bikaner House. Narayan Sinha’s exhibition, which is being presented by Art Ichol at India Habitat Center and was originally scheduled to be held from January 27 onwards, has also been postponed. “As an artist it is difficult to plan anything. There is so much uncertainty and feeling of being unsettled. An artist needs to be spiritually connected which is difficult at a time like now… Human touch is very important to understand an artwork. Everything is virtual now and collectors are also purchasing works but it’s claustrophobic to not be able to share my art with others,” says Sinha. The artist had a solo in Kolkata last year. “After the second wave I felt it was important to celebrate life. As a human being we might think that we are progressing but we have become so detached from nature.”
Though Modi notes that the physical viewing of art cannot be replaced with its online viewing, she shares that with regard to sales the connoisseurs do seem to have adapted to the digital model. “There is sale of artwork that is happening and going forward too I feel the hybrid model will continue,” she says.
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