India Art Fair 2024
At the beginning of 2023 the journey to India sparked into possibility. The Australian High Commission (AHC) hot off of their wonderful mural by Athena Brown, were looking for more way to introduce India to Aboriginal culture.
After approaching me to begin a project together, the idea of a display at the India Art Fair (IAF) was floated. For me this made the most sense as I have had great success in this type of event. With the IAF being India's largest art fair the project was bound to get many people engaging and exchanging cultural connections.
Creating artworks for the IAF was overwhelming especially deciding on what to bring for this new audience. I settled on bringing a selection of large and small original artworks, prints (in case this medium was more familiar) and a few smaller sculptures. In this selection i hoped that there was something of interest for every viewer. Hopefully by cpturing thier attention i would be able to introduce them to Aboriginal art.
When i landed in New Dehli (ND) I was reminded that the popultion of this one capital has more people than in the whole of Australia. I was definetely no longer in Darwin. I absolutely loved it, the traffic with trucks, cars, took-tooks, people and animals all weaving into lawlessness. The chaos opened my eyes and my introduction to India was beyond thrilling.
The first event I had on my agenda was an exhibition hosted by the AHC, in conjunction with The Gondwanna Project. The show called Modern Tribal was bringing works together from Pupanya Tula, a few of my pieces and the tribal art styles of the various Indian artisans. There were many similarities between the artforms, and the crowd was quick to draw comparrisons, and were intranced by the tribal method of story-telling. At this function i was also able to meet the Australian High Commissioner, Philip Green OAM and his wife Susan. The team who were busily working to get the IAF ready were also there for me to finally meet.
At this event i was able to see the audience's rersponse to my artwork, anf their kind words. The appreciation for my fine linework and use of colours made it clear that I would find a receptive and interested audience in India.
Setting up for the IAF I was struck with the ease of workflow, whole teams of people were there to help, measuring, moving and drilling. I was able to stay focused solely on curation of my space. I might have been on the other side of the world, but this was by far one of the less stressful events I have been involved in. I felt fortunate to have time to explore the fair itself before the doors opened. Taking in the delights from across India and the world, and to feel what their artists are creating.
The days from here just flowed on, with two whole days of VIPS. I met so many interesting people. I was able to share my artworks, and their stories with anyone who asked. My catalogues specially made for the IAF were flowing out into the crowd at a rapid rate. I spoke to collectors about aboriginal art, opened their minds to collecting outside of Indian artworks. I struck up conversations with interior designers about commissioning artworks for upcoming projects & talked to schools about future collaborations. I had deep dives with artists and students talking of philosophy, culture and the importance of art in keeping our stories alive. They were long days, but they brought a rich value to my life and have drawn a thread to India that I want to continue to explore.
The AHC team, Carlo, Yuri, Shanet, Aditi and Amiti were great commerades on the busy days, as we tackled the sheer number of people flowing through. I thank them all for their time, and their conversations that gave me an insight into the way India works. I found it all so facinating.
On days where I could steal a couple of hours I explored Delhi, the markets, the shopping, the food and the most wonderful temples scattered throughout the city. I have included a couple of visits to manufacturers, which should see some new and exciting projects launched soon. My daily driver Vinod spoke to me of daily life in ND and I feel I gained a respect for the resilience and work ethic of people living in such a huge population. It gave me deep gratitude for my life, an appreciation for my freedoms, and had driven me to make the most of the opportunities that come my way.
A special thanks to the team at the Australian High Commission in Delhi. This has been an experience of a life time.
+61422 226 446 (whatsapp)