Art exhibitions in India are slowly migrating online

The art world is quickly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving online

emami-art-online “Black White and More” an online exhibition by Emami Art

A bright, black line-drawn tapestry from the ‘Theatre of Life’ series by S.G. Vasudev,; a white, wavy expressionist Banaras of Manu Parekh; and a spotted grey mother nature of gathering clouds in a Jogen Chowdhury watercolour—these are some of the artworks on display in an online exhibition “Black White and More” at Emami Art, a contemporary art gallery in Kolkata.

Dashrath Patel's artwork at Emami Art Dashrath Patel's artwork at Emami Art

With cancelled exhibitions, previews and gallery openings, the art world is quickly responding to the coronavirus pandemic by moving to online viewing rooms to remain in touch with buyers and connoisseurs. Most prominently, the marquee Art Basel fair in Hong Kong migrated entirely to the web last month, showcasing more than 2,000 artworks worth USD 270 million. Some 2,50,000 viewers logged in to witness Art Basel online. This was followed by Art Dubai which moved its entire 2020 catalogue of the fair online.

While international art galleries have been plotting the digital move for years now, with the pandemic only expediting the process, it will be interesting to see how much business art galleries in India can generate on the web with online shows and competing neck-to-neck with existing web-based auction houses. Shrine Empire Gallery in New Delhi and Tarq in Mumbai unveiled two new shows online this month. Titled ‘Speculations on a New World Order’ and ‘Resurgence’, they directly showcase artistic interpretations of a post-corona dawn.

On Emami Art’s website, the exhibition deals with some of the finest monochromatic artworks of eminent artists like Jogen Chowdhury, Rabin Mondal, S.G. Vasudev, Dashrath Patel, Bose Krishnamachari and Manu Parekh. Although the selected works have all be shown earlier at the physical gallery, their curation into a themed online exhibition with prices displayed is being done for the first time.

Theatre of Life by S. G. Vasudev Theatre of Life by S. G. Vasudev

How confident are they of roping in viewers for an art exhibition on their respective website? “The current pandemic while ensuring social distancing, has also brought the world closer through the digital medium. Art is always a part of our lives, sometimes very subtly,” says Richa Agarwal, CEO of Emami Art which was established in late 2018 and is part of a 70,000 sq. ft. multidisciplinary arts space spread over six floors called The Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC) run by the Emami Group, a well-known FMCG conglomerate.

“We are quite hopeful that people would find it interesting to visit our website and browse through the online exhibition. The artists and their artworks have been curated carefully to appeal to a discerning audience. We are confident that art lovers would appreciate Emami Art bringing them a slice of positivity through this exhibition to their homes,” says Agarwal.  

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