Delhi Contemporary Art Week (DCAW) appears to be an answer to the popular Mumbai Gallery Weekend, where galleries — Chatterjee & Lal, Chemould Prescott Road and TARQ, among others — get together to celebrate art. Unlike Mumbai, in the Capital, the gallerists are exhibiting not at multiple spaces but under the same roof, sharing space at Visual Art Gallery in Indian Habitat Center. “Though we do promote contemporary art at bigger platforms, it tends to get sidelined at times, especially the young, cutting-edge artists. This, on the other hand, is a curated forum for such art,” says Bhavna Kakar, director of Latitude 28. She recalls how the project germinated during a discussion between her and Anahita Taneja, director of Shrine Empire Gallery, when the two felt it was important for gallerists to come together to showcase and promote contemporary art.
The collective already has a new member in its second edition, Blueprint 12, that joins the participants of last year — Gallery Espace, Exhibit 320, Latitude 28, Nature Morte, Shrine Empire and Vadehra Art Gallery. “The artists we work with are different but there is a common language that threads all the galleries together. Most of us have worked with several of these artists from the early stages of their career, so we felt we would fit in this group,” say Mandira Lamba and Ridhi Bhalla of Blueprint 12. For the event, the duo have chosen a range, from Mehreen Murtaza’s digital collage series to Pala Pothupitiye’s sketches on maps.
Renu Modi, director of Gallery Espace, feels platforms such as these are essential for the art industry. “The Indian art world cannot move ahead unless the contemporaries move forward. We should create deep and sound collections of contemporary art. I hope people start buying art for art’s sake,” says Modi. Among others, she is showing Vipul Kumar’s ceramics, Manjunath Kamath’s terracotta and paper works and a Ravi Agarwal photograph.
Welcoming visitors, next to the entrance is Shilpa Gupta’s installation titled Half A Sky, an outcome of a project in 2010, where the artist conceived objects that are half transparent and half mirrored, placed on photographs of the blue sky. Being showcased by Vadehra Art Gallery, the corner also has Atul Dodiya’s The Vegetarian Society London 1890, an oil on canvas and archival digital print on hahnemuhle bamboo paper, where Dodiya continues to discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s relevance in present times. Anju Dodiya’s Mirror compels viewers to ponder over reflections at Vadehra, whereas Tayeba Begum Lipi’s Mirror, being showcased by Shrine empire, are two men made of steel razor blades. “The aim is also art education,” says Modi.