Johny ML, an art historian, writer, curator and artist, is organising a unique art fair in New Delhi that will help artists connect directly with collectors and connoisseurs.
Unlike India’s existing art fairs — The India Art Festival, held in Mumbai, and the India Art Fair in Delhi — artists will not have to pay for space.
Instead, a total of 350 artists have been picked by Johny from among 600 applicants, based on samples of their work that they send in.
Each selected artist will now be allotted a free stall at the Pragati Maidan venue, from September 27 to 30, on condition that 35% of the proceeds of every sale be handed over to the organisers as a commission.
Galleries usually charge a commission of 30% to 35% on works sold at art fairs. The fair is being sponsored by United Art Logistics.
A total of 1,500 works will be displayed at the 8,000-sq-metre venue, which will include a curated section titled Mind the Gap Now, showing works by 60 established artists, including Chintan Upadhyay, KS Radhakrishnan and Diwan Manna. A sculpture park will house 15 sculptures.
Among the selected artists is Tathi Premchand, 42, a digital artist from Mumbai who graduated from Aurangabad’s Government School of Art in 1990 and has spent the past 22 years struggling for platforms to show his work.
He has had three solo shows so far, two in Delhi and one in Mumbai. He also shows his work at group shows about twice a year. But he is not represented by a gallery and is losing hope of ever finding a slot at major galleries such as Jehangir in Mumbai.
“Through the fair, I hope to reach out to collectors in Delhi, one of the largest art markets in India,” says Tathi.
Mumbai-based Prashanth Irlekar, 51, who has been trying to break into the Delhi art scene for five years, has also selected to show at the fair. “This is a great opportunity,” he says.