Here’s wishing you a very happy and prosperous 2013 ! The past year was an eventful one for Saffronart as we introduced an array of new categories and collectibles by way of our auctions and The Story, our new website featuring unique objects in curated collections available for sale every day!
We thank you for your support and look forward to bringing timely and engaging news, interviews, images and more from our offices around the world. A special word of thanks for our guests bloggers for their contributions. We hope our regular posts on this blog continue to offer you new insights into the products we feature in our online auctions, new ideas about collecting, and also a new perspective on Saffronart.
Yamini Telkar of Saffronart in conversation with Delhi collector Anupam Poddar
Famed collector, Anupam Poddar in his Delhi residence Image credit: Ram Rahman
New Delhi: Anupam Poddar, undoubtedly one of India’s most important contemporary art collectors, hardly needs an introduction. Poddar has been acknowledged worldwide as a premier patron in the ArtReview Power 100 list and on CBS News’s and Apollo Magazine’s lists of the top 20 most influential collectors today, alongside François Pinault, Viktor Pinchuk, Eli Broad and Sheikh Saud Al Thani, the cousin of the Emir of Qatar. Based in New Delhi, Poddar along with his mother, Lekha, set up the Devi Art Foundation in 2008 to house their collection of more than 7,000 contemporary, modern and tribal artworks from across the Subcontinent. India’s first non-profit art center, it was set up to encourage the viewership of the most cutting edge and experimental work from the region. Poddar’s collecting interests have transcended Indian art to encompass Central Asian art including art from Uzbekistan, Oman and Pakistan. He and his mother travel to these countries in search of the best art and talent. The exhibitions at the Foundation are curated out of their collection. In 2010, the Foundation organized Resemble Reassemble, a cross-section of contemporary Pakistani art featuring the works of 45 artists who are part of Poddar’s collection, including Farida Batool, Imran Qureshi, Ayaz Jokhio, and others.
Ahead of our inaugural Pakistani Art Auction, Anupam shared his insights about art from Pakistan in this tete-a-tete with Yamini Telkar of Saffronart. View the slideshow below for Poddar’s favorite works from the auction.
Q. What got you interested in art from Pakistan?
I find contemporary art from Pakistan, honest, fresh at the same time experimental and challenging. It is amazing to see the quality of work produced by young students. During one of Rashid Rana’s visits to India, I happened to see images of some works that I found extremely exciting. Soon after, my mother and I made a trip to Pakistan to meet the artists.
Q. Having collected both contemporary Indian and Pakistani art, what according to you are some of the similarities and divergences between the two?
Despite having a shared history, I feel contemporary Pakistani art is more experimental in nature than Indian art. The artists follow their individual pursuits with convictions that are not driven by the market forces or contemporary trends; their personal expressions are highly skillful and insightful.
Q. There is a trend among the ‘culturalti’ to engage in India-Pakistan dialogues. Do you think this has any bearing on artists and the art world? Would you as a collector/institution be interested in such projects?
I don’t think so. They are very few artists who engage with the politics between the countries as their subject matter.To stay away from this, the curatorial strategy of ‘Resemble Reassemble’was to create a playful visual narrative and not a national survey show. As a collector/institution we wanted the exhibition to challenge the preconceived notions many viewers have and at the same time set up a platform for Indian artists to interact with works and artists from the other side of the border.
Q. Based on your interactions with contemporary artists from Pakistan, what are some of their main concerns?
One of their concerns which I find very exciting is to preserve the miniature tradition. At universities, it is re visualized and presented in a way that it challenges its own boundaries and often tends to surprise the viewer with the outcome. Otherwise, works revolve around their local realities or regional issues. Due to political and financial constraints, many Pakistani artists do not get an opportunity to travel which makes their work more rooted in local realities which are far closer to them than that of an unseen world.
Q. What trends do you see marking the development and collection of Pakistani art in the near future? What is your opinion of an auction dedicated to Pakistani Art?
Compared to the past, there is a lot more interest in contemporary art in Pakistan. We see many galleries opening up in different parts of the world, dealing solely in Pakistani art. There was a presence at Documenta this year, many art fairs and international auctions. An auction dedicated to Pakistani art is a great idea. It makes it much easier for people to buy art from the region, by bypassing bank transfers/shipping/customs – which are an absolute nightmare!
Anika Havaldar of Saffronart shares a note about the 2012 Skoda Art Prize for Contemporary Indian Artists.
Mumbai: The Skoda Art Prize offers mid-career Indian artists up to the age of 45, who have held a solo exhibition in the country over the past year, an opportunity to showcase their work in India and abroad. Created three years ago and modeled on the Turner Prize (the UK award that helped launch the careers of Damien Hirst, Richard Deacon, and Anish Kapoor amongst others), the award aims to help contemporary Indian artists gain recognition in the art world.
The Skoda Art Prize 2012 winner will be announced in February 2013 and will be awarded Rupees 1 million. Past winners include Navin Thomas and Mithu Sen. The 2012 winner will be chosen by an esteemed three-person jury, chaired by critic-historian Geeta Kapur. The other two members of this year’s jury will be artist Sheela Gowda and co-founder of the non-profit Devi Art Foundation, Anupam Poddar.
The Jury for the 2012 Skoda Art Prize: Sheela Gowda (left), Geeta Kapur (center), and Anupam Poddar (right)
Two runners-up will earn month-long residencies in Switzerland, while the top twenty artists will have their works exhibited during the Indian Art Fair in New Delhi in 2013. The organizers will also recognize a ‘Breakthrough Artist’ in a separate award, comprising a Rupees 2 lakh cash prize, presented by Art India magazine.