Indian Art Market 2017 - Forecast

Indian Art Market 2017 - Forecast

BY ANANT ART  MARCH 8, 2017

Indian Art Market

After going through an extensive phase of economic recession, the Indian art world's woes increased further last year when it was hit by the unexpected demonetisation drive. A sense of panic and uncertainty ensued forcing many galleries to cancel their announced shows, decrease their number of activities and find themselves on the back foot. Taking these negative factors into account one would expect a lukewarm response from India Art Fair 2017. Surprisingly, the mood was different, the response was positive and the outcome was quite hopeful. According to many reports which are coming out now, we can be sure that the contemporary Indian art market is back on track with a much renewed confidence. The collectors are showing interest in contemporary works apart from the usually favoured works of modern masters. This change in attitude and attention is also reflective of how these new young collectors are carefully developing an interest in the art of their times. Despite the hardships of demonetisation drive, India Art Fair has recorded a boost in their sales compared to its previous edition.

Neha Kirpal, the Founding Director of India Art Fair has noted an increased demand for contemporary art, "with over 94% of Indian galleries reporting strong sales results. The prices of the works at India Art Fair ranged from affordable pieces in the region of $1000 to major works by artists such as S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, and M.F. Hussain, priced upwards of $8 million. Almost 60% of the 72 exhibiting booths made sales to new and international collectors and over 30% were made to collectors under 40". This unexpected sales trend in IAF 2017 is an indicator of positive signs which would resonate in the coming months and can recuperate the contemporary art market. The South Asian Art Market Report 2017 published by Art Tactic observes that the region is entering a healthy cycle now. The task is not easy and one cannot merely rely on the speculative nature of the market alone to revive it.

According to Anders Petterson, founder of Art Tactic, "The South Asian art market boom between 2004 and 2008 was exciting, because it made this regional art market gain proper international attention for the first time, and laid the foundation for much of the contemporary gallery, art fair, and auction infrastructure we see today. However, there was also a destructive side to these boom years, felt shortly after the financial crisis in 2009, when the top 3 auction houses recorded a 66% drop in sales of modern and contemporary art and the share of contemporary art dropped from 41% in 2008 to 12 % in 2009; the dangers of speculation were manifested." That unfortunate recession has to be seen as a blessing in disguise as this post-boom period led to the emergence of many significant not-for-profit initiatives in South Asia. With the absence of a fully fledged government support for the contemporary arts, several private foundations, biennales, and non-profit organisations are filling this vacuum. These include Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Dhaka Art Summit, Colombo Art Biennial, Pune Biennial, Colombo Art Biennial, etc.

The perseverance of these endeavours compounded with the support of patrons, and the private sector has created an art ecosystem which is gaining large scale public attention and also infusing new energy into the art market; the result of which can be seen in the rising presence of new collectors for contemporary art, the diversification of modern art with the emergence of several other schools of Modern South Asian Art apart from the Progressives. The galleries, patrons, and the artists have to show a collective responsibility to sustain this momentum and come together more actively to nurture this art ecosystem.

The South Asian Art Market Report 2017 has presented a positive outlook for the region. This has been assessed by two important factors: one being the 10% increase in confidence in the last 12 months, and second is a marginal increase in the contemporary Indian art market since December 2015. Adding to this is the international museum presence given to artists like Bhupen Khakhar, Nasreen Mohamedi, V.S. Gaitonde, Nalini Malani, etc. that is bringing the global focus back to Indian art.

In conclusion, one can be assured of a positive forecast for this year; one of the significant factors being that India will remain the commercial gallery hub for the South Asian region. This will also be enhanced by the arrival of new galleries, biennales, non-profit initiatives and festivals in non-metropolitan areas. Moreover, India will remain the centre of this hub in the coming years as well. The focus is also slowly shifting away from the speculative auction driven market to a diverse and sustainable art ecosystem which is inclusive in nature. South Asian art galleries' presence in international art fairs is going to continue and prove fruitful in the growth and global presence of contemporary artists.

Related Article - https://www.anantart.com/start-your-own-fine-art-collection/post/28764

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