Published: Verve Magazine, Art Mart August 2009

The idea was formulated on the back of an airline airsickness bag. The annual India Art Summit, started last year by 10 people, has steamrolled into an event of international significance. International galleries now make India their holiday destination spot for the summer. Sitanshi Talati-Parikh gets the organisers to recount what it takes to put together an event of some consequence

New Delhi-based associate director of the India Art Summit, Neha Kirpal, describes a ‘normal’ day

7:30 a.m. Woken up by Gayatri Sinha (art curator) to discuss one of the billion aspects of the project. P.S. I am not a morning person.
8:00 a.m. Getting ready for work while on a conference call with NGMA director Rajeev Lochan; a media interview about the state of the economy and the art scene with IANS; a quick bite in the car while looking over a press release announcing our 34 global media partners (the office is a five-minute-ride from home so that’s the time I have).
9:30 a.m. On the phone talking to people in the East: important fair directors, museum representatives and galleries in Hong Kong, Phillipines, China, Korea, Tokyo.
9:45 a.m. Make a checklist for the day averaging about 70-80 tasks a day.
10:00 a.m. Meeting a potential sponsor for the seminar programme.
10:45 a.m. Call a team meeting for advertising and publicity plans: send off teams all over the city to put up posters, negotiate with magazines for ads, blogs online, update Twitter, leave a note on Facebook….

12:00 p.m. Negotiating with an art gallery owner about how it is difficult to accommodate a 10 x 10 work in a 8 x 8 area.
12:30 p.m. Meeting Renu Modi at Gallery Espace, to discuss…well, the state of the market, selling price points, artworks being shown by them….
1:30 p.m. w It is 48 degrees and 20 people are working in a pool of sweat. Also on site is a big discussion with the Subodh Gupta about where his gigantic piece of art can be placed.
3:00 p.m. Running back to the office, looking at the show catalogue. Pagination, page sequence, printer screw-ups, re-doing samples.
4:30 p.m. Meeting with our projects’ curator to discuss lighting in the sculpture park.
5:30 p.m. Conference call with Sotheby’s; collectors; VIP programme.
6:00 p.m. Meet Peter Nagy for coffee to discuss Nature Morte’s show at the Summit.

6:45 p.m. Badges! 300 exhibitors badges, 60 speakers badges, 800 VIP badges, 15,000 general visitors, 200 press badges….
7:15 p.m. Picking a shade of silver for the show catalogue. How many shades of silver are there?!
7:30 p.m. A conference call with Art Tactic in the UK – working on a daily art newspaper for the Art Summit.
8:00 p.m. Invitations, artist queries, reviewing contracts with art publications, collaborations with art organisations like Art Asia Archive for the dream museum project, thank-you notes and issues to do with venue security.
8: 30 p.m. Review the Video Art programme proposed for the video lounge. There are over 100 video artists being shown in three days!
9:30 p.m. Talk to people in the West – it is their time of the day now.
10:00 p.m. Next day’s checklist, and read assorted media articles on the art world (we’ve got a company that tracks art news on a daily basis nationally).
10:30 p.m. Just the beginning of a long night ahead, preparing for another long day. Wait, I hear the phone ring….

The India Art Summit will take place between August 19 and 22 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Events include an international speaker’s forum, a sculpture park, installations at The Purple Wall Project, a video lounge and other satellite events across the city. For more details visit

Some numbers that are a part of the India Art Summit 2009

22,000 man hours
600 litres of white paint
11 countries
56 speakers
500 artists
4,210 sq m of concrete flooring
500 artists
2000 art works
400 kilo watts of electricity
55 galleries
20s is the age-group of the core team
37 world-wide media publications

For Art’s Sake

Managing director of The India Art Summit, Sunil Gautam (of Hanmer MS&L Communications), answers two questions

Why art?
Art is stimulating. It’s something that brings out creative energies; it’s engrossing and captivating. This is also a field which has little in terms of organisation and structure, so it was a very challenging space to enter. And I like challenges!

Why Delhi?
We’re working very hard to promote Delhi as a cultural capital in the Asian region. Around the world, this is being seen as India’s official art fair, so it’s obvious to consider the national city. Plus, Delhi’s got a very vibrant art market!


Verve points out another heavy-weight show worth checking out this month

India Xianzai
Take India to China and you can create a great artistic bridge – think the exploration of issues related to cultural assimilation. If you happen to be in Shanghai before August 30, you can proudly check out the likes of Anju Dodiya, Chitra Ganesh, Hema Upadhyay, Jagannath Panda, Jitish Kallat, Justin Ponmany, Mithu Sen, Reena Saini Kallat, Riyas Komu, Subodh Gupta, Thukral and Tagra and Santhosh TV at The Museum of Contemporary Art, People’s Park, 231 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai (