Market Analysis : Indian Contemporary Art
w. NaHyun Kate PARK
The emergence of the Indian contemporary art market is not only due to economic, social and artistic transformation in India but also attributable to redefining center-periphery dynamics in the geography of contemporary art and the rise of new centralities in Asia Pacific. The existing art schools and infrastructures in India stem from the joint effort between the British and several Indian industrialists and intellectuals, including Dr Bhau Daji Lad and Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy between 18th and 20th century. In the aftermath of Indian Independence in 1947, the Indian government inaugurated various cultural spaces whose vocation was to participate in the birth of a post-colonial Indian artistic identity.
Behold 2009 © Sheela Gowda
In the early 1950s, important public galleries are created in Delhi (AIFACS - All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, Triveni Kala Sangam) and Bombay (Jehangir Art Gallery), accompanied by two National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and new schools the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) present in all regional capitals. An art market was already present in urban centers, supported by patrons and art collectors. Among these pioneering actors, we often cite the big merchant or industrial families Birla and Tata, as well as other philanthropic personalities, Homi Bhabha, Jehanghir Nicholson or even Ebrahim Alkazi.
"Timeless Art" exhibition, the same year as "Magiciens de la terre" in 1989, created for the 150th anniversary of the Times of India, brings together works from the collection of the powerful Indian media group. This is followed by the first major auction of modern and contemporary art organised by Sotheby’s which heralds a new phase in the emergence of the Indian art market. Internationally, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) including artists of The progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) such as S.H. Raza, M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, and Tyeb Mehta, start to contribute to the recognition and dissemination of modern and contemporary Indian artists and the expansion of Indian contemporary art market abroad.
Starting from the 1990s, a network of gallery owners, art critics and curators started to play a crucial role in developing a plethora of crucial exhibitions which manifest the contemporary Indian art groups abroad. One of the first international exhibitions to showcase the new art scene is "Contemporary Art in Asia. Traditions / Tensions" organised in the United States in 1996. The exhibition is aimed at an American audience and brings together contemporary Indian, Indonesian, Filipino, South Korean art and Thai. "Private Mythology", mounted at the Japan Foundation Forum, is one of the first exhibitions to offer an overview of contemporary Indian art. It will be followed by sometimes more targeted events, such as the section "Bombay / Mumbai, 1992-2001" from "Century City" to Tate Modern, or large exhibitions presenting a panorama of the Indian art scene, like "Edge of Desire ", which opens in Australia and travels to the United States and Mexico before arriving in India. In 2005, "Indian Summer", at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, brings together the works of some twenty artists, and marks a turning point in Europe. From the following year, several Indian galleries took part in FIAC, as well as Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Dubai.
Today, despite the absence of government support, the regional art ecosystem has evolved in India. Indian Art Fair (IAF) has improved in quality, there is a stronger gallery system, and non-commercial endeavours such as the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the Lahore Biennale, the Dhaka Art Summit, and Goa’s Serendipity Arts Festival are raising the profile of contemporary art across the subcontinent. Seeing this year’s success of IAF as a barometer of sorts, many have admitted that there is a increased interest from local and international buyers, all positive indicators of change. “This is now a time in the market where there are deeper foundations than, say, 10 years ago, when the market was quite frothy,” said Yamini Mehta, Sotheby’s deputy chairwoman for Indian and South Asian art.
 Contemporary Art in Asia: Traditions/Tensions was an exhibition held from 4 October 1996 to 5 January 1997, staged simultaneously in three locations in New York City: the Grey Art Gallery, the Queens Museum of Art, and the Asia Society Galleries.The exhibition was organised by Vishakha N. Desai, director of the Asia Society Galleries, and Thai guest curator Apinan Poshyananda.  https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-boom-bust-south-asian-art-market-finally-maturing
Bibliography & Webography
Manuela Ciotti (2012): Post-colonial Renaissance: ‘Indianness’, contemporary art and the market in the age of neoliberal capital, Third World Quarterly, 33:4, 633-651.