Retrospective on M F Husain at Dubai art fair

New Delhi: Art from India, including a special retrospective on M F Husain, is set to be showcased at the sixth edition of the Art Dubai beginning this month.

Four Indian galleries and two international galleries specialising in Indian Art will be participating in the biggest known fair on the international art circuit from the Menasa (Middle East-North Africa-South Asia) region.

Modernist painter M F Husain who died last year is being remembered through a retrospective by the Grosvenor Vadehra gallery at the four-day fair beginning March 21.

"We thought of doing a retrospective of Husain a great artist who is highly regarded in the region. He had been attending past editions of the fair and we thought it would be a fitting tribute to him," Conor Macklin, director, Grosvenor Vadehra Art Gallery told PTI over phone from London.

Apart from the late master`s paintings, the gallery is also scheduled to screen a short documentary "Through the Eyes of a Painter" made by Husain in 1967. The 18-minute film set in Rajasthan and featuring Husain himself in some shots had won a Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival.

New York and London based Aicon Gallery is the other international gallery showing Indian Art at Dubai Art Fair.

Galleries from India include Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), Experimenter (Kolkata), Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke (Mumbai) and Seven Art Limited (New Delhi).

"Art Dubai began with five Indian galleries represented in the fair; we now have six, but in the intervening years, Indian artists have gone global. They are now second only to those from the Middle East, in terms of representation in the fair, and exhibited on the stands of galleries from Brussels, Paris, London, and Dubai, among other cities," Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai told PTI over email. .

She adds, "Art Dubai has acted as one platform that connects the international art world with South Asian arts professionals and enthusiasts from the NRI community at large to collectors, artists and gallerists making the short hop from Delhi or Bombay. We are proud of this role, and see it as part of the DNA of Art Dubai.

Indian artists also figure highly with other galleries, such as Jitish Kallat with the major Austrian gallery Krinzinger, or Bharti Kher with Perrotin. The work exhibited ranges from a retrospective on Husain to upcoming star Adip Dutta with Experimenter.

According to market watchers, the Middle East is very important in art market terms not only in that many of the region`s artists have risen internationally over the past decade, while many other diasporic artists are well- represented in the European/American market, but also that Middle Eastern collectors are increasingly impactful across different art markets, not only "their own".

"Dubai`s role as a hub has been extraordinary from a handful of galleries in the early 2000s to now hosting over 40 galleries, many of international standing, being the base for auction houses in the Menasa region, and home to the region`s biggest fair. Galleries have survived and even thrived through the global economic crisis, and another 5 spaces are due to open this March, to coincide with Art Dubai," says Antonio Carver.

A total of 74 galleries from 32 countries will show work by over 500 artists at the fair. This year they have 65 museums groups from Lima in Peru to Singapore to Beijing, as well as London, Paris and New York signed up to attend the fair say organisers.

Seven Art Gallery from India which is participating in the fair for the first time is showing works of a single artist. "We are showing a solo artist Suhasini Kejriwal. We have been participating in the art fairs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and other and we wanted to complete the Asian circuit with the Dubai Art Fair," says Aparajita Jain, Director, Seven Art Limited Gallery.