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Published on: Dec. 8, 2023, 4:27 p.m.
Art Glorious Art!
  • Art Mumbai was a happy celebration of art

By Swapna Vora

“The ‘Earth’ Without ‘Art’ Is Just ‘Eh!’”

 The Vaziranis have worked hard and wisely and truly deserve their success! Art Mumbai was a happy celebration of art, “Inviting all to immerse in its sheer beauty”, which took place at the Mahalakshmi Race Course, Mumbai. Some art was in the open air, the rest in well-lit, sparkling galleries, while an old Ravi Verma painting, ‘Kadambari’, (which showed a lady playing music), was nestled in a darkened room for protection. It was an amazing and elegant event showing the best in Indian art, including modern, contemporary and tribal work. There was a fixture, a 3D plan with walls from the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, on which we were encouraged to paint. Which we did, gleefully! Great outdoor fun!

A bit about Saffronart: Minal and Dinesh Vazirani started this international auction house in 2000. It now has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, London, and New York and has had ‘interesting online and live auctions, exhibitions, and ‘Dialogues in Art’ while working with collectors, gallerists, and artists, and assuring authenticity’.

It invites artists to talk about their work, encouraging art and aesthetics. It aims to make auctions transparent with access and information to collectors everywhere and also offers appraisals with detailed information on art, jewellery, collectibles and real estate. Their online and live auctions, (with attractive catalogues!), bring bidders from around the world who participate simultaneously. And so, Harvard Business School studied Saffronart’s phenomenal success!

Saffronart’s Minal said: “Art Mumbai is a celebration of the best of South Asian art, as well as a tribute to the vibrant and dynamic culture of Mumbai. In this inaugural edition, we are thrilled to be bringing together over 50 renowned galleries and foundations, set to showcase modern, contemporary and indigenous art that reflect the region’s rich heritage.”

“I believe you will find the fair to be an exciting opportunity to engage with the wider South Asian art community. Alongside art, you can expect on-site programming, such as a speakers’ series, that promise to leave you inspired”.

  • The Art Mumbai team

    The Art Mumbai team

The art installations and sculptures were present almost everywhere, occupying rooms and passages, walls, floors and hanging ethereally from the ceiling: weightless, wafting with the wind. Well-known and loved artists like MF Husain, Raza, NS Bendre, were well represented along with younger artists, like Sakshi’s Manjunath. A major theme was migration: what encourages or forces people to leave, to flee, to go elsewhere, seeking safety, a home.

Kiran Nadar’s presence was palpable through her well-arranged gallery, her talk about her collection and what led to her creating a landmark museum. Her museum, KNMA, today promotes Indian art in a major way.  Tarun Tahiliani produced a wonderful fashion show along with folk artistes: a joyful parade, right through the trees and excited eager crowds, under an evening sky. An absolutely beautiful presentation was offered by Sujata Bajaj: an entry into outer space, into the universe. Mysterious, dark, with ashes and silver highlights. To no-one’s surprise, all her paintings sold out immediately!

Art Mumbai also had many and varied depictions of our lives. It brought us images, flashing as visual depictions of the mystery which surrounds us. Or, as Gustav Klimt said: “Art is a line around our thoughts.” Here, the depictions included:  “daily food; … transient sorrows, simple wiles,  Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles”.

Art Mumbai’s premiere was wonderful and we are already waiting for the next one. 

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