Five hundred upcoming as well as seasoned artists will be participating in the first edition of The United Art Fair-2012 to be held at Pragati Maidan here from September 27 to 30.

According to chief curator Johny M. L., the art fair is absolutely free for Indian artists. “This was necessary because Indian art is going through a recession these days. Young students who have graduated from art colleges badly need a platform to showcase their talent which has been hidden from art connoisseurs,” he says.

Over the past two months Johny and his team travelled to 13 cities known to be artists’ hubs including Delhi, Vadodara, Goa, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Patna, Guwahati, Kolkata, Bangalore and Kochi. “We met numerous artists, conducted meetings, surveys and studio visits. After carefully scrutinising all art works we have selected 350 artists.”

Around 2,000 works from different genres of visual arts including painting, sculpture, print making, photography, video, digital art, installation and cutting edge art will be displayed at Hall No. 12 and 12 A of the sprawling exhibition ground.

“For eight years we have been providing logistical support like transporting precious art works of renowned Indian artists like Tyeb Mehta and M. F. Husain to London for auctioning at Christie’s and other auction houses,” says Annurag Sharma, who conceptualised the fair. It took him two years of preparation to launch the project.

Section for established artists

A special section has been created for established artists. Titled “Mind the Gap Now”, this section will have 60 established contemporary artists including Jatin Das, K. S. Radhakrishnan, Chintan Upadhyay, Shibu Natesan, Amitava Das, Diwan Manna, Sunil Gupta, Mona Rai, Manjunath Kamath. “The title itself tells you that there is a gap between the young ones and the established ones. We need to bridge this gap and only the elders can show them the way,” adds Annurag.

Sculpture Park, video lounge, seminars, book launches and media stalls will be other attractions at the fair. Fifteen huge sculptures and installations will be another highlight. Monumental works of well-known artists like Subodh Kerkar, K. S. Radhakrishnan, Chintan Upadhyay, Debanjan Roy and Sumedh Rajendran will be exhibited. A video lounge will showcase the latest video works of Indian contemporary artists in a single screen projection.

The art fair will have a Dissenters’ Day. The seminar venue will be open for orators who can express their dissenting ideas about visual art. “We will open this platform for those vibrant minds who could come up with alternative models and ideas. Even they could critique us from this platform,” says Johny.

Psychologist and writer Sudhir Kakkar will give a lecture on “Art and Psychology” on September 28. It will be followed by “Young Artists and Brand Building”, a lecture-cum-workshop conducted by Santhosh Babu, an acknowledged hypnotherapist and corporate trainer.