Once seen as a financial and industrial hub, New Delhi has witnessed a boom in new galleries in recent years, as well as in art events, fairs and exhibitions – all of which have sparked a global interest in the Indian art market. As the art scene continues to blossom, here are some of the leading contemporary galleries in New Delhi.
Delhi Art Gallery
Spearheading the contemporary art movement in India since the 1990s, Delhi Art Gallery has one of the most exhaustive collections of Indian modern art in the country. The collection here covers the entire history of modern art in India, from early modernist works to more recent experimental art forms. Located in the vibrant Hauz Khas Village, it’s a must-visit for anyone even vaguely interested in the art of the country.
Located in leafy Lado Sarai, Exhibit 320 is more than just an art gallery. It’s a meeting point for artists and students to workshop and discuss ideas around artistic expression and visual dialogue. The gallery promotes the new generation of contemporary artists, encouraging critical discourse and progressive experiments through seminars, lectures and talks. Past exhibitions have featured works by Tsherin Sherpa from Nepal, Vibha Galhotra from India, and Afruz Amighi from Iran.
The unassuming Talwar Gallery could be mistaken for just another of the large townhouses that make up the residential Neeti Bagh neighbourhood, which in p art is what makes it interesting – that and the fact it advocates for a wide range of artists, both new and established, from the Indian subcontinent whose work reflects their experience of the diaspora. It exists to promote the idea that art can be used as a vehicle to transcend geographical, cultural, religious and racial boundaries.
Art Alive Gallery
Just a five-minute walk from Panchsheel Park station, art Alive is one of the most active gallery spaces in New Delhi. Founded in 2001 by Sunaina Anand, the gallery exhibits the work of leading contemporary artists such as Anjolie Ela Menon and S.H. Raza, as well as a carefully curated selection of new artists. The space holds up to five individual and group exhibitions per year, plus a variety of workshops, lectures and discussions on Indian art. Looking for further reading? It also regularly publishes limited-edition art portfolios and monographs on individual artists.
Founded in 1936 by Shri Ram Chand Jain, the Dhoomimal Gallery is considered the oldest contemporary art gallery in New Delhi. As well a collection of work by well-known artists, such as Shri Jamini Roy, Laxman Pai and P.N. Choyal, the gallery promotes emerging talents through scholarships and exhibitions. More recently, Dhoomimal opened the Dhoomimal art Centre – a 170sqm (1,800sqft) space at Connaught Circus, comprising several exhibition halls, the Ravi Jain Centre for International arts, a sculpture court, cultural centre and a private museum.
With three floors of shiny marble, glass banisters and crisp white walls, Gallery Espace is the perfect blank canvas for showcasing emerging contemporary Indian artists. Founded in 1989 by Renu Modi, promotes an interdisciplinary approach to fine art, with a thematic focus on art that reflects the realities of contemporary society. It has also hosted exhibitions of established contemporary artists, such as Subodh Gupta, who is well known for incorporating everyday objects such as steel tiffin boxes or thali pans into his pieces.
Art Positive leads the line in promoting promising new artists (as well as showcasing well-established ones). art-related activities – including online exhibitions, masterclasses, workshops and education initiatives – sometimes held in the lively café space, pull in a young art-loving crowd. An advisory service for buying works, insurance, display and conservation is a lifeline for serious collectors.
Vadehra Art Gallery
Founded in 1987, Vadehra art Gallery was the first private gallery in India to exhibit pieces by Pablo Picasso, and brought the works of Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon to a new audience. The gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions, from their collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern art to large-scale retrospectives and publications. Vadehra also has an art bookshop, the first of its kind in India, and launched the Foundation for Indian Contemporary art, which offers fellowships to up-and-coming artists and carries out a range of educational activities, engaging artists, art historians and critics.
Art Heritage Gallery
Founded in 1978 by one of the most influential Indian theatre directors of the 20th century, Ebrahim Alkazi, and the renowned costume designer, Roshan Alkazi, art Heritage Gallery demonstrates a commitment to promoting wider awareness of modern Indian art. Located in the art complex Triveni Kala Sangam, the gallery has published a variety of art-related publications, portfolios and catalogues, and has held more than 350 exhibitions, ranging from distinguished artists such as F.N. Souza and M.F. Hussain to new contemporary artists.
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