Online Magazine
Cover Story
Flashback 2009: Indian art shines acr"oss the globe
Even as India undergoes a phenomenal transformation as the country develops financially, and new cities escalate into modern metropolises, contemporary Indian art is thriving globally in acknowledgement of its rising stature. A series of international exhibitions in 2009 provided a timely glimpse of its power and depth. We look back at the select shows in this broader context and celebrate its global march.

‘The Audience and the Eavesdropper’: At the start of the year 2009, Phillips de Pury & Company hosted the ambitious show in New York. A selection of works by each participating artist conveyed the strength and breadth of their individual oeuvre, whereas they collectively depicted a nuanced, complex portrait of the themes and trends as reflected in contemporary Indian Art. Anita Dube, Thukral & Tagra, Justin Ponmany, Samarendra Raj Singh, Raqs Media Collective, Hema Upadhyay, Rashid Rana, Sheba Chhachhi, Probir Gupta and Hamra Abbas were among the artists featured. .

London Art Fair: London Art Fair is the UK’s largest Modern British and contemporary art fair. Its 2009 edition included artists from India like Dhruva Mistry, George Martin, Sumedh Rajendran, Rajesh Ram and Chintan Upadhyay, represented by the London based Grosvenor Gallery. The works on view were a testimony to each individual artist’s unique way of working, reflecting the dynamic, diverse virtues of Indian contemporary art..

Panorama: India at ARCO Madrid: It proved to be the perfect platform for promoting the best of contemporary art from the country to international audiences. Renowned artist-curator Bose Krishnamachari offered a fascinating overview of contemporary Indian art. In its endeavor to lend attention to emerging markets, ARCO Madrid focused on India. Shaheen Merali rounded off the spotlight on India with a series of elaborate exhibitions, film seasons and events at major museums and art centers in Madrid..

‘Chalo! India’: One of the largest showcases of contemporary art from India ever held in Japan, the 5th anniversary exhibition of Mori Art Museum was projected as a significant survey of contemporary Indian art that looked to unveil a new era of Indian art with it. The milestone art project examined how the artists use their insight and observation power to quiz the reality, taking their themes from ubiquitous objects, social interaction and day-to-day life. It mapped out a diverse and dynamic contemporary art scene of India in the context of its current complexities..

Art Dubai festival: Designed for art collectors, curators, art professionals and artists, the week-long Art Dubai festival included a wide range of shows, seminars, the art district tours and captivating cultural projects. Art Dubai 2009 aimed to provide a platform for the new media art growing by introducing a diverse program of British, Middle Eastern and Indian artists..

‘India Contemporary’ at GEM: Aimed at providing a glimpse of the vibrant contemporary Indian art, the interesting show was collated at Dutch museum GEM to bring out how Indian artists now combines a latent understanding of the western canon of art even while retaining its cultural nuances and origins. Blending of both influences is crucial to their visual expression and concepts in their creations. ‘India Contemporary’ hosted works by Riyas Komu, Jitish Kallat and Sudarshan Shetty..

‘Passage to India – Part two’: ‘Passage to India – Part two’, presented courtesy Initial Access, Wolverhampton, as part of its enchanting exploration of Indian contemporary art, is an extension of the first edition of the show. Captivating creations by Murali Cheeroth, T.V. Santhosh, Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Reena Saini Kallat, Thukral and Tagra from the Frank Cohen Collection were showcased. .

‘Re-Imagining Asia’: This major international show included diverse works by some of the world's most prolific contemporary artists keen to experiment with traditional forms and new media. Jaishri Abichandani, Subodh Gupta, Shezad Dawood, and Rashid Rana are among the prominent artists featured, among others. Curated by Shaheen Merali and Wu Hung for Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt in collaboration with The New Art Gallery Walsall, the exhibit is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation. The exhibit explored the meaning and relevance of the contemporary Asian art in the 21st century, within a wider context of globalization, increasing migration, leading to a truly global world..

‘Indian Highway’: Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway hosted a timely presentation of the pioneering work by leading artists from India today, embracing art, architecture, literature, film, and dance. ‘Indian Highway’ featured leading artists from the country. It pioneered a radical model of curating, as curators are invited to develop a ‘show within a show’ inside the main exhibition..

The Venice Art Biennale: It’s among the world’s greatest platforms for contemporary art. Four artists from India featured at the event - Sheela Gowda, Nikhil Chopra and Sunil Gawde at the Arsenale, an erstwhile naval depot, whereas Anju Dodiya's at the Giardini. They all formed part of the large exhibit titled 'Making Worlds' at the 2009 Biennale..

‘Spectrum’ in Abu Dhabi: An ambitious exhibit of Indian art in Abu Dhabi, entitled ‘Spectrum’ gave a comprehensive idea of its evolution over the last five decades. The show traced trends and movements, right from the Progressives to the moderns, extending to contemporary artists. It incorporated over 100 works, encompassing canvas as well as new media. Pheroza Godrej and Sarayu Doshi curated the exhibition organized in association with the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) .

‘India Xianzai’: Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in association with Seven Art Limited, ICIA (Institute of Contemporary Indian Art) and ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) unveiled a grand show of Indian contemporary art. Entitled ‘India Xianzai’ (India Now), it showcased probably one of the largest ever collections from the country displayed in China. The exhibition was based on the premise that India’s rich culture and history has inspired artists, not only within India, but also those residing abroad. In a way, ‘India Xianzai’ was an examination of various processes, narrative structures and aesthetic strategies focusing on the question of culture as an agency in artistic expression. Importantly, this was not just any exhibit but a museum show.