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India Art Summit 2011 publicity poster

Why did you decide to participate in the Indian art fair?

Up until then we had participated in Scandinavian art fairs.

We assumed that we would stand out in India, and realized that would be a benefit both for us and for visitors. In states with growing economies you find many new trends. Europe has already become slightly stagnant, and even in the largest fairs you’ll mostly see values that have already been proven. Unusual destinations can offer something new. That’s why India seemed like an interesting alternative.

After participating in the first art fair in New Dehli, in 2009, we understood how to make the gallery’s offerings more interesting for the Indian art market. That’s why the artist Anita Arbidāne spent several months living in India and created her works for the exhibit while living there. Anita’s works integrate Indian cultural and religious motifs. Indians feel great reverence for their culture; that’s why there was lots of interest both in these works and in the artist herself. Indians appreciate this mutual symbiosis.

A portion of Anita’s works were begun in Latvia, because her painting process is very time-consuming. Visitors, of course, first noticed her Indian tones, though they simultaneously became more open toward the European elements. It was a magical, mutual process. 

What was different at this Indian art fair, compared with what you had seen before?

At the fair, galleries bring the very best, and offer what seems to be most suitable for the Indian art market. Each has its own mini-exposition with a thematic arrangement and slogan. The goal is to sell. We, in turn, wanted to see and integrate into a larger market. Europe is saturated with itself, but India is still in a pleasant process of searching—searching and growing!

Did you observe any trend at the fair?

Indian art is more positive, while the tendency in Europe is to shock. In India you can be shocked by so much positive emotion—the overall atmosphere is wonderful. Indian art has a tendency toward refinement; they appreciate precise completion. Perhaps this comes from the miniature tradition—for example, in an ancient miniature you can see the tiniest details on a ruler’s body. They consider refinement a real value. Stories and symbolism, as well as profundity and meaningfulness, is also important. They also appreciated this in Anita’s works.