Not all of them might have managed to sell but they aroused interest and generated curiosity at the recently held United Art Fair. From the huge pool of artists who showed at the fair, five names, chief curator Johny M.L. feels, hold out immense promise…

The fair got off to a flying start, so claim the organisers, and ended with a bang too. Impressive figures, mammoth scale and unexpectedly good footfall made the recently concluded three-day art extravaganza in the Capital, United Art Fair (UAF), a promising attempt. And Annurag Sharma, the man behind UAF, is clearly thrilled for he has already booked the venue for three days next year. But figures apart, what really made the whole affair interesting was its engagement with the young promising artists of the country.

The free art fair exhibited around 525 artists out of which 350 were emerging names. So, doing away with what is deemed as the inevitable — the art galleries — UAF came out with some young bright spots post an exhaustive exercise mapping the length and breadth of the country.

Known, moderately known and obscure names from metros and small towns figured in the fair demonstrating promise and potential. Difficult indeed, but the fair’s chief curator and director, Johny M.L., at our behest, picks out six up-and-coming names from this crop of talented and energetic artists.

Manish Sharma, Bikaner

Disturbed by the looting of havelis in his native Bikaner, Manish placed a huge art installation at the entrance of Hall No.12 called ‘Loot’. Fashioned like a vintage car from the front and a truck from the back, the loaded white van made of fibreglass stood as a metaphor for the destruction of cultural heritage. Priced at Rs.9 lakh, it was finally sold for Rs.13.5 lakhs. The satire on the systematic destruction of havelis in Bikaner had aroused much enthusiasm amongst viewers.

Aadhi Vishal, Goa

In his early 30s, he is one of several Goan artists participating in the fair who managed to be noticed. “Fantasy and mythology meet curiously in his work. The central figure of a powerful woman then adds to it. And that must have attracted the viewers to ask him questions. A lot of people went up to him and enquired.”

A fine arts graduate from Goa College of Art, he has been exhibiting for a decade. Though the artist works in paper, creates murals and sculptures, at the fair, he had brought his canvases. ‘Homage to Lady Gaga’ (acrylic on canvas) in particular generated lot of interest.

Santosh Morajkar, Goa

Another artist from Goa who registered a powerful presence at the fair. With a strong graphic sense, the 36-year-old artist often borrows from mythology and employs a fresh vocabulary to interpret it. Animals often form the core of his works. At the fair, he was represented by five works comprising paper and pastels and he managed to sell two of them.

Sudhakaran Edakandy, Calicut

At 50, he can’t exactly be called an emerging artist but is still clubbed with the young lot because “his potential has still not been noticed by the galleries. He hasn’t been acknowledged by the mainstream galleries but he is a phenomenal artist. He can go very far,” says Johny.

Sushma Sabnis, Mumbai

According to Johny, Sushma is another artist who has yet to be noticed by the mainstream galleries. “She does very different kind of abstraction. She portrays intense human feelings but without representing the human body. A body is rather a landscape in her canvas.” A trained marine biologist, she works in acrylics, practices paper art and also creates work using pigmented beeswax and other resins. The artist organises an annual art show called ‘Advaita’ introducing the latest talent on the scene.

Keywords: United Art Fair