Within the subcontinent, there is a growing number of committed contemporary art collectors, rather than just collectors focused on modern masterpieces. “The time for speculation has gone,” said Priyanka Raja, co-founder and director of Kolkata-based Experimenter Gallery. “Private individuals are not only collecting contemporary art in a more meaningful way, but it’s also a more immersed, research driven-process.”
Dealers have admitted, however, that recent months have been challenging as protests against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s controversial citizenship amendment act continue to rock the country, creating economic uncertainty. Yet many see the success of this year’s IAF as a barometer of sorts. The growing attendance numbers, quality of contemporary art on display, and increased interest from local and international buyers were all positive indicators of change.
“The art fair is a huge benchmark for how the market is looking,” said Kishore Singh, who heads exhibitions and publications at Delhi Art Gallery. “Today, you can feel a new energy.”