The art week in Dubai kicked off this Tuesday on the 19th of March 2019, with around 90 galleries on board divided among three halls at Madinat Jumeirah. While the halls were bifurcated on the basis of Modern art, contemporary art and residential programmes, the division was considerably lenient.
The 2019 edition of Art Dubai housed galleries from different parts of the world indulging 40 countries. With six major galleries from India, the fair offered a great degree of cross-cultural conversations.
From India, as the first-time entrant to the fair, Dhoomimal Gallery boasted of the modernists like M F Hussain, Anjolie Ela Menon, FN Souza, Krishen Khanna and Ganesh Pyne. Delhi Art Gallery in the modern section exhibited some remarkable works of Shanti Dave in an exquisitely designed booth. His abstract drawings and landscapes were the highlight of the entire exhibit. With a lot of archival material like photographs and letters, the display gave great insight into the life and processes of the artist. Another Indian gallery showing the moderns was Sanchit Art Gallery with their cherished artists like Satish Gujral and G R Santosh, amongst others.
Akar Prakar, based in Kolkata and New Delhi, on the other hand, chose to exhibit in the contemporary section with artists like Manir Mrittik, who uses photography with 24-carat gold leaf brought together with a subtle aesthetic, to highlight the relationship between the human body and nature. The spiritual meditative quality was greatly evident in the works of S H Raza and Manish Pushkale, a disciple of Raza himself, which were showcased together. Also displayed were Jayashree Chakravarty’s new body of back-lit works where she uses real leaves, flowers, roots, seeds and other natural elements on Nepali paper, to bring out the regenerative quality of nature. The other important artist here was Ganesh Haloi presented with his abstract series of work, which was recently shown at Documenta 14.
Experimenter Kolkata has now become a regular at international art fairs. Exhibiting artists like Kanishka Raja, Prabhakar Pachpute, Praneet Soi and Ayesha Sultana, along with other names, the gallery is taking forward a challenging foray of exhibiting contemporary art, where geometricity seems to be an underlining visual theme.
Exhibiting in the Bawwaba (meaning gateway in Arabic) section curated by Elise Atangana, with 9 other solo representations that focuses on projects about Latin America, Africa, Central and South Asia and the Middle East, Jhaveri Contemporary featured the artist Shezad Dawood and a body of his works conceived within the past year. The series titled Encroachments is a juxtaposition of pictures, stitched cloth and paint on canvas.
A sustained effort by Indian galleries to expose more of Indian modern and contemporary art to newer audiences in Dubai and the Middle East is bound to show positive results. It bodes well for the industry in general and for the artists in particular.
Cover Image: MF Husain Untitled
Images: Art Dubai