The Indian capital's economic success has now translated into a burgeoning art scene with new galleries in Delhi opening and an increased interest in different genres and disciplines. Today, the international art set are taking Delhi seriously and are attending the India Art Fair, held annually in Delhi, in greater numbers. By visiting galleries in the two main art districts, little-known Lado Sarai and popular Hauz Khas, where photography exhibitions, seminars and cutting-edge installations take place, visitors can uncover an exciting new side to contemporary Indian art.
Burgeoning Art District – Lado Sarai
Located midway between Delhi and the luxury satellite city of Gurgaon, Lado Sarai is an avant-garde art hub. For the past five years, Lado Sarai has slowly become a must-visit for contemporary Indian art enthusiasts. Home to a number of art spaces, featuring all kinds of works from installations to photography, key galleries to visit include Exhibit 320, which showcases an exhibition space as well as supporting seminars, lectures, and discussions, and Latitude 28, which, while a commercial gallery, also concentrates on promoting the work of up-and-coming new talent. Art guru Bhavna Kakar runs the gallery, as well as working as a writer and art consultant and publishing India’s best arts magazine ‘TAKE on art’.
Many galleries in Delhi may have moved from Hauz Khas to Lado Sarai, but Hauz Khas is still very much worthy of a visit for anyone interested in counter-culture or graphic arts. A bohemian quarter of south Delhi, the area has kept some art spaces but has recently re-focused on expanding its offering of shops and restaurants, many of which have an arty vibe. Small curiosity shops are dotted around the area selling antiques and movie posters, and some of the city’s trendiest restaurants can be found here, like The Living Room which doubles as a live-music venue.
For a light snack or coffee, the ‘travel café’ Kunzum is a popular place to log-on to the Internet and swap tales of adventure with fellow travellers. Of course there are still art spaces here too. Delhi Art Gallery, in the heart of Hauz Khas village, features contemporary art, with a focus on Indian modernists, and often holds events and lectures.
India’s Most Cutting-Edge Modern Art Gallery
Nature Morte has been at the forefront of modern art in Delhi since the late 1990s, when the gallery shifted from its base in New York to the Indian capital. Located in the south of the city, a 10-minute drive from Hauz Khas, Nature Morte profiles many of India’s most successful modern artists (including Delhi-based husband and wife Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta). Peter Nagy, the gallery's founder and director is famous for representing many of India’s top contemporary artists, and remains one of the country’s best-known art figures.
If it’s a quick introduction to art trends in India you’re after, this is the place to come. Taxi drivers often have difficulty finding this gallery, so it’s best to use a mobile phone to call ahead and to be guided in.
Header photo: Movie posters for sale in Hauz Khas © Caroline Eden
Written by Caroline Eden
Have you visited any of these galleries in Delhi? Where are your favourite places to see contemporary Indian art in the city?
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About the author: CarolineEdenCaroline Eden
Award-winning travel writer and broadcaster Caroline Eden specialises in Asia. She regularly contributes to international media including the BBC, Geographical, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller and Asian Art Newspaper. She is also on the judging panel for the annual Asia Spa Awards. Follow her on Twitter as @edentravels.