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India Art Fair frenzy: Your ultimate guide to the parallel events

STIR curates a list of parallel events at the India Art Fair 2023, that will allow visitors to connect with art and ideas, while supporting the Indian art community.

by Vatsala SethiPublished on : Feb 08, 2023

Despite having a rich cultural heritage, one often sees resistance among Indians to actively seek out or engage with the Indian art. Is it possible that people feel that the art world is elitist, inaccessible, and therefore they cannot participate in it? While it may seem like an exclusive space, several initiatives, public art exhibitions, educational programs, and online platforms are available and can help broaden one's understanding of Indian art and make it more inclusive. One of the leading contemporary art fairs that play a significant role in promoting and supporting the visual arts is the India Art Fair, which showcases a wide range of contemporary and modern art from South Asia. This year along with featuring a curated selection of art galleries within the fairgrounds, it is also supporting IAF Parallel, a platform that presents a diverse range of opportunities and allows visitors to engage with different genres of art.

IAF Parallel events will provide opportunities for visitors to gain a wider understanding of the local art being presented at the fair through talks, workshops, and other educational programs. With several events spread across the city, the fair adds to its own diversification by engaging in a variety of styles, mediums, and perspectives. They encourage visitors to spend more time at the fair and to explore a broader range of art and ideas, leading to a deeper engagement with the arts.

From the India Art Fair Parallel programme, STIR has compiled a selection of galleries, institutions, and workshops that you should keep an eye out for. 

Kunel Gaur and Sahil Arora speak about the exhibition (Systems)TM   Video: Courtesy of Method, and STIR


Urban art installations may significantly enhance the value of an art fair by establishing a distinct ambience, improving aesthetic appeal, drawing attention, and encouraging community interaction. At Stir Gallery, Method will present (Systems)TM, a mesmerizing show by Kunel Gaur. Gaur's second solo exhibition at the gallery expands on his investigation of design in urban landscapes and architecture. His fascination with symbols, typography, hardware, patterns, and colours converges in an articulation that speculates on the balanced beauty and shape of the components that primarily provide a function for urban people. His work has evolved to include screws, lights (LED and neon), acrylic sheets, toughened glass, paint, and other materials, all presented in his characteristic basic aesthetic. Digital investigations of the same concept are also featured in the immersive exhibition.

Priyanshi Saxena speaks about the exhibition Vessel   Video: Courtesy of Pulp Society, and STIR

Pulp Society

Alongside digital explorations, visitors will have an opportunity to engage with Osheen Siva's show Vessel, at Pulp Society. Exploring Dalit Futures/ Dalitfuturism themes (influenced by Afrofuturism), Siva dives into science fiction, technology, sociology, mythology, the realities faced by the Dalit community and their imagined futures, while envisioning alternative 'futurities' while criticising capitalism's status quo. A present can have numerous, if not infinite, futures according to a typical linear conception of time. The term ‘futurity’ has a broader connotation. If we define futurity as ‘the character or condition of being future,’ we may say that the present belongs to it: even if it is not future, it has the quality of being future.

“In this series, I explore hybrid and mutated characters by creating a mythology of my own that is inspired by various ancient mythologies and folktales while being rooted in my Dalit and Tamil heritage. The hybrid characters are a way to highlight queer and feminine power as well. For instance, the rooster and human hybrid are inspired by Bahuchara Matha in Indian mythology that the trans community worships, and the snake and human hybrid is inspired by the Arabic mythical character called Shamran that has been used in Turkey and the Middle East as a symbol for LGBTQ rights, the tiger and woman hybrid is a symbol of feminine strength,” says Siva in the official press note.

Lekha Poddar speaks about the exhibition VAYAN - The Art of Indian Brocades   Video: Courtesy of Devi Art Foundation, and STIR

Devi Art Foundation

An intriguing art event that preserves traditional art while also promoting the cultural, historical, and social context of textiles, will be on display at the Devi Art Foundation presenting VAYAN - The Art of Indian Brocades, a collaboration with the National Crafts Museum and Hastkala Academy, New Delhi. This is the second of three exhibitions that provide an overview of important handwoven textile traditions in India. Vayan is a Hindi term that refers to the weaving skill. The exhibition is narrated through six groups, each of which looks at brocades that share common visual, aesthetic and technical features, to present an understanding of the diversity in such Indian textiles. At a time when hand surface embellishment, printing, painting, and dyeing are still popular in the country, the exhibition's major goal is to encourage a new generation of practitioners about the potential of hand weaving exploration. Textiles in this category are brocaded on a basis of fine, gossamer, and lightweight cotton or silk fibres. They also include metallic yarns on a base of silk and are attributed in their production to Chanderi and Varanasi in the present-day Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively, both prominent Indian handloom centres.

Siddhi Shailendra speaks about the exhibition Whispering Lanes Video: Courtesy of Akar Prakar, and STIR

Akar Prakar

On display works at Akar Prakar art gallery is Debasish Mukherjee: Whispering Lanes. From evoking a wide spectrum of emotions to engaging in thought-provoking interaction between lines, spaces, and visually beautiful forms the spotlight is on Mukherjee's most recent solo exhibition. Employing the fundamental elements of space, line, architecture, and everyday objects to create visual metaphors that expose the underlying stories of his history. The shadows of the ghats, roads, structures, and stairs manifest as an affect of Benares and form the premise of the works shown in this exhibition. Mukherjee works with sculptural installations, paintings, and textile-based pieces, all with a purposely limited colour palette.

Ashna Singh speaks about Shivani Aggarwal's work at India Art Fair Video: Courtesy of STUDIO ART, and STIR


One should not miss an on-ground large-scale sculpture by STUDIO ART. The art gallery will showcase Shivani Aggarwal's steel-finished fibre-glass sculpture on the grounds of the IAF that will question our attempts to quantify love, joy, intimacy, trust, and truth. The perplexing work calls into question the dysfunction and inadequacy of attempting to quantify the immeasurable, and challenges viewers to consider the nature of emotions. The sculpture with the base stands about 9 feet tall. The sculpture has been active in the creation, enlargement, bending, and twisting of typical everyday activities the artist partakes in.

Amisha Chowbey speaks about ArtBuzz India's workshops at India Art Fair Video: Courtesy of ArtBuzz India, and STIR

ArtBuzz India

While textile artworks contribute to the enthralling experience at the art festival, attendees will also gain hands-on experience in printmaking through the IAF Parallel on-ground workshop hosted by ArtBuzz India. Printmakers' Den, led by visual artists Shivangi Ladha and Tarun Sharma, will provide art aficionados with the opportunity to try out printmaking techniques, Experimental Drypoint and Chine-collé. The printmaking workshop will delve into the concept of Climate Art, which is an umbrella word for art dealing with a wide range of themes related to ecology, sustainability, and climate change. Artbuzz India believes that the class will provide basic knowledge on the subject, encourage discussion, and provide a forum for young people's perspectives. Another workshop by Saruha Kilaru for an introduction to bookbinding where participants will learn how to make a simple pocketbook in a variety of styles at home using simple items such as paper, a needle, and thread.

Overall, IAF Parallel events, much like the India Art Fair, play a crucial role in supporting the growth and development of the contemporary art scene which leads to building international recognition and fostering a more sustainable and thriving art community in India.

Click here to read more about India Art Fair 2023 which is taking place from February 9-12 at NSIC Exhibition Grounds Okhla, New Delhi.

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