New Delhi's India Art Fair explodes this year

New Delhi's India Art Fair explodes this year

India Art Fair is officially one of the best attended art events in the world: How to enjoy it and New Delhi at the same time
India Art Fair
The India Art Fair received more than 170,000 visitors over its first three editions, making it among the world's most popular art fairs.

The India Art Fair (previously called The India Art Summit) features 91 galleries and art spaces from 91 countries.

Founded by 31-year-old Neha Kirpal in 2008, the India Art Fair features the work of well-known international artists such as Picasso, Dali, Rashid Rana and Damien Hirst as well as hosts a speaker’s forum by curators, gallerists, art theoreticians and artists from around the world.

The fair also lends its outdoor and (non-functional) indoor spaces to larger projects that cannot be contained within the gallery booths.

This year, look out for Zuleikha Chaudhari and Clemens Behr’s architectural installations, supported by the Creative India Foundation. These kinetic sculptures inspire awe and offer a space for silence and thought amid an otherwise intense atmosphere of seeing and dealing.

"Most people spend more than a day or two at the Fair and one of the reasons people also come back every year is that it offers a rare opportunity to experience the sheer diversity of the Indian art scene first hand, and under one roof," says India Art Fair founder Kirpal.

"The afterhours parties, gallery exhibitions and collateral events happening around New Delhi during the Fair are a big pull for people visiting the city too."

"With the Jaipur Literature Festival and India Art Fair Back to back, January is now really the best month for anyone interested in culture to be in India."

More on CNNGo: Best of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012

Zuleikha Chaudhari installation located near the ticket booth. Clemens Behr installation located on the façade of the main entrance.

January 25-29, 2012, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

NSIC Exhibition Grounds, Okhla Industrial Estate, New Delhi; +91 (0)99530 41805,

For information on curatorial walks and invite-only events, contact

Tour guide: Adventures in Art

Art expert Karen Stone Talwar leads an all-inclusive itinerary that previews the fair, visits private collections, artist studios and tours with the curators of Delhi’s public museums.

Adventures in Art, is an organized, elitist insider’s guide to the Indian art scene. 

From January 22-28, US$8,000 per person excluding airfare; Contact;

What to watch out for at India Art Fair

Work of art: Yoko Ono’s "Wish Tree"

Yoko OnoOno will collect all the wishes made on the tree and add them to her cache at the Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland, which dedicated to Lennon.
From the MoMA in New York to New Delhi, artist Yoko Ono has traveled across the world with her most prominent public instructional project "Wish Tree," where each viewer is invited to write a wish and hang it on the tree.

“[On my last trip to India in 1968] the sky was always shining blue. I felt very welcomed by the land. We [John Lennon and I] just observed, with amazement," Ono, who is in New Delhi this month, tells CNNGo.

"This time, I am coming to you specifically to exchange ideas. We are now facing a very difficult time together as ones trying to better the world. Communication is very important, my brain is already communicating with your brain. And it will keep giving more awareness and power to us. We are growing together to do whatever is necessary at this time for our planet."

The Wish Trees To see more of Ono's work, visit her exhibition "Our Beautiful Daughters"; until March 10, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Vadehra Art Gallery, D-178 Okhla Phase 1, New Delhi; +91  (0)11 65474005;  

Gallery: London's White Cube Gallery

The White Cube Gallery from London has had the foresight and vision to find daring, if eccentric, contemporary artists (Jeff Wall, Tracy Emin), launch them and make them famous.

Amongst those who will be shown -- and may even appear in person -- is Damient Hirst.

Remember a piece called "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living"? Or the shark in formaldehyde? Yes, that guy.

Expect something outrageous, art that will stop you in your tracks.

Hall 1, close to the main exhibition entrance.

Speaker’s Forum: Artist conversation

India Art FairThe Speaker's Forum features 54 influential speakers, including the curator of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and Britain's Financial Times arts editor. Sessions will be free.
Three renowned and articulate artists, Mark Quinn, Bharti Kher and A Balasubramanium talk about their art, its processes, the mutability of sculpture and the shifts that seminal contemporary artists are facing today.

Artist conversation: Mark Quinn, Artist, Bharti Kher, Artist, A Balasubramaniam, Artist with moderator, Sara Raza, independent critic and curator.

January 26, Seminar Hall, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Live event: KhojLive12, an evening of performance art

Khoj is renowned on the Indian art scene for bringing guerilla, ecological, performative and other marginalized mediums of art to the fore.

This live evening brings together conceptual performances, movement pieces, sound presentations and new media games by artists such as Pushpamala N, Mamta Sagar, Attakkalari and Inder Salim.

Outset, the India chapter of Outset UK, founded by Feroz Gujral in 2011, is a philanthropic organization which supports public art projects and "revolutionary ideas."

January 27, 4 p.m.-9 p.m. at blueFROG, the Qila, Seven Style Mile, opposite the Qutub Minar, Mehrauli, New Delhi; +91 (0)11 3080 0300;

Around New Delhi 

Eat: Indian Accent at The Manor

Indian Accent DelhiIndian Accent fuses Indian with international flavors.In close proximity to the fair and house in The Manor hotel, restaurant Indian Accent presents art on a plate.

With blue cheese parathas as a starter and Wasabi cucumber raita as an accompaniement, the food at Indian Accent, both conceptually and literally, fuses Indian with international flavors.

Chef Manish Mehrotra is the newest contestant on NDTV’s upcoming show, Foodistan, a cook-off between Pakistani and Indian chefs.

Try Mehrotra's bharawan mirch with a goat cheese mousse, a surprising culinary experience that's new to their winter tasting menu. And the strawberry-basil sorbet between courses.

Meal approximately Rs 2,000 per person.

The Manor, 77 Friends Colony (W), New Delhi; +91 (0)11 4323 5151;

Open for lunch from noon-3 p.m. and dinner from 7 p.m.-11 p.m.

Play: Qawwali music at Dargah Hazrat Inayat Khan 

The absolutely serene atmosphere of the dargah (Sufi shrine) connects you immediately to some universal intuition that leaves you entirely free and wholly connected to the cold marble floor, the tomb in the center and the tree growing out of the floor.

Here the hypnotizing latticed resonate with songs from the tenth generation of sufi singers of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s family. 

Saklin, in his mid-thirties, finds a range in his voice that no formal training could discover, and though just his expression hints at the meaning of his words, if asked, he is happy to explain.

129 Basti Nizamuddin, New Delhi; +91 (0)11 2435 0833;

Qawwals every Friday, after sunset.

Shop: Les Parisiennes

Les Parisiennes is a vintage thrift store in the up-and-coming village of Shahpur Jat.

Two French women bring hip, ironic clothing and accessories from Paris to New Delhi, employing an in-house tailor to line each jacket with a satin or a suede. Each piece is, thus, one of a kind.

They bring out new collections every week, serving coffee and croissants alongside in their long corridor-red, Parisian apartment-esque space.

Watch their Facebook page for updates on their terraced movie nights beside fires, with hot wine et al.

5B Shahpur Jat, Dada Jungi House, Asian Village, New Delhi; +91 (0)11 2649 6754 

Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Drink: blueFROG

blueFROG New DelhiblueFROG New Delhi was born on December 21, 2011.
Though still a tadpole in New Delhi, blueFROG Mumbai's reputation has had a positive rippling effect towards the North.

Its architecture allows for better acoustics than anywhere else and its swish blue lights lend an oceanic feeling to the music.

Look out for the FROG's gig calendar, packed with young Indian musicians venturing into experimental sounds or returning to old-school nostalgia.

A weekend night is a guaranteed good time, with a crowd that can do justice both to the FROG's space and bar.

The Kila, Seven Style Mile, opposite the Qutub Minar, Mehrauli, New Delhi; +91 (0)11 3080 0300;

Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

Himali Singh Soin is a poet and art writer living in New Delhi.

Read more about Himali Singh Soin