Review: IAF2016 / In the India Art Fair 2016, India Today booth is Very Special/ JohnyML
The must-see photography booth set up by India Today, displays the images taken by their photographers of artists in their own space..Johny ML reports from IAF2016 for Art Tehelka..
Anything excess is not good for health, even if it is art. Too much intake of art benumbs brains and other faculties that are capable of taking sensitive things in. If someone asks what is the difference between an exhibition opening and art fair I would say, in an exhibition opening one could stand against the work and socialise. Here in the case of an art fair, thanks to the amount that you have paid for your ticket or the kind of trouble (begging, pleading and being polite overtly) that you have taken for a free pass, you don’t feel like standing against the works and socialising. People do see the works and get tired, both mentally and physically.
For those people who are tired of the force feeding of aesthetics, here is an oasis to relax at the India Art Fair. It is again an art booth but with a difference. This is an exclusive photography booth initiated by the India Today Group that celebrates the forty years of its art engagement. The photography artists who have been associated with the India Today group are brought together in this booth with their photographs, especially the ones that they have taken at the artists’ studios at different places and in different points of time.
What makes this booth very special is the freshly minted photograph by the ace photography artist Rohit Chawla who had gone to Bodrun at the Mediterranean sea where the three year old Syrian refugee child Aylan Kurdi was found dead. The picture had shaken up the conscience of the world. Rohit Chawla travelled all the way to meet the controversial politically inclined Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who did a performance on the same spot where Aylan Kurdi’s dead body was washed ashore.
The photograph that features the performance of Ai Weiwei as ‘Aylan Kurdi’ is the opening picture in the India Today booth at the India Art Fair 2016. There are several photographs of the veteran artists taken by Rohit Chawla. Along with him some of the pictures taken by Bandeep Singh, Saibal Das, Raghu Rai, Pramod Pushkarma and so on are also on display. Each photograph is a gem because they are not deliberately done as a part of the project. These are done either as a part of the news story or as a part of the photographer’s interest in these artists’ lives.
One would miss Manisha Gera Baswani here. But that too is an honor for her as we remember her contribution to this genre of photography in India. Manisha has been photographing the artists in their abodes for a long time. These photographs featuring the famous artists are though not done by the same artist exude some sort of charm and may be for the art worn viewers this booth would serve as a rejuvenation experience.
Do not miss the India Today stall created by Rohit Chawla.