Mumbai is host to an endearing mix of creatives, artists, collectors and ecosystems that help art thrive. However the capital of the country has always been taken more seriously by the industry. Changing this notion around its head is the team behind Mumbai Art Fair–Minal Vazirani, Dinesh Vazirani, Nakul Dev Chawla, and Conor Macklin. Le Mill spoke to Nakul Dev Chawla, co-founder Art Mumbai and CEO and Founder of Global Art Hub on what can be expected in the city later this week.
Rain bearing Clouds & Rain Mother
Everyone is excited about the Mumbai Art Fair–tell us how you have imagined this inaugural chapter?
"The co-founders were discussing doing an art fair in Mumbai for a few years. Then the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown delayed our plans. Having noticed how well the Indian art market was performing, during and after the pandemic, we agreed that this was the right time to introduce a commercial art fair to Mumbai city. Mumbai is the financial and cultural capital. It is also where some of the country’s oldest and most respected galleries and most prolific and respected artists are based. The inaugural edition places a significant emphasis on fostering a sense of community. It is designed to be inclusive, welcoming not only high-net-worth individuals and collectors but also the wider public and students with the primary goal of enhancing art accessibility."
Art Mumbai Team
What can you tell us about Mumbai’s relationship with art–how has it evolved over time?
"Mumbai has a long and rich connection with art, tracing back to the Progressive Artists Group which was formed in 1947. This was the forerunner to the modern art movement over the last few decades. Mumbai also has a rich culture and heritage of the arts, performing arts, fashion, music, literature. There are the heritage buildings of Fort and the Art Deco district around Marine Drive and Oval Maidan. Mumbai is also home to the renowned JJ School of Art. Art Mumbai is a fair that pays homage to Mumbai’s legacy as an artistic hub and pioneer in promoting India’s culture."
How would you guide serious collectors through the fair?
"An existing or serious buyer would already be familiar with the format and be aware of what they like and what they want to buy in terms of modern or contemporary South Asian art. For a new visitor or collector, attending one of the walkthroughs would be the best starting point. It would cover the entire fair, including modern and contemporary. With that overview and background, a collector at Art Mumbai would be able to make an informed decision. They could also consult other collectors and curators who they would meet at the fair."
Life Goes on -1
What would you recommend to art enthusiasts?
"We aim to convey the rich artistic diversity in India, spanning from traditional miniatures to cutting-edge modern and contemporary art, encompassing sculpture and innovative installations. an indispensable part of their lives. We recommend they spend time visiting all the booths in both the Modern and Contemporary tents and wandering around the Sculpture Garden. We have a total of 53 galleries participating. There are some enlightening panel discussions with leaders from the art ecosystem. There are some wonderful offsite events such as walking tours. On site at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse where the event is taking place from November 16 to 19, we also have a comedy show by Bunshah, a film screening, book launches and a conversation with Art Mumbai’s Cultural Ambassador Karan Johar. Plus there are a host of food and beverage outposts. I would recommend wearing comfortable shoes and absorbing, engaging and learning about the art and, if you so desire, maybe purchasing something special."
Agkuklios Paidea, Horn in the Head series, 2013
Art Mumbai will take place at Mahalakshmi Race Course Keshavrao Khadye Marg, Royal Western India Turf Club, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400034, India between November 17 - 19, 2023. Book your passes here.