Art marketing in the State took a significant step forward on Thursday with the opening of the Contemporary Art Fair under the aegis of the ongoing Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF).

The exhibition-cum-sale featuring more than 300 works by over 200 artists is a first-of-its-kind attempt to address the lack of marketing opportunities for Kerala artists. The fair was inaugurated at Kanakakkunnu Palace here by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy with the sale of two paintings. The Lalitha Kala Akademi has submitted nearly half of the 300 selected works which comprise sculptures and paintings done in various media including oil, acrylic, ink, watercolours, and pastels. The fair will be open from 11a.m. to 9 p.m. on all days until January 26.

Besides known names such as Kattoor Narayana Pillai, Varghese Punalur, Shibu Natesan, Babu Namboodiri, Karakkamandapam Vijayakumar and Savithri Rajeevan, the fair will feature works of a number of budding artists too.

Kanayi Kunhiraman, who is spearheading the project, said all participants had cut down the price of their paintings to make them affordable to the common man.

“Paintings are not just to be seen, but bought. We would like visitors who come here to return home with one. That will be their greatest gesture of support for art and artists in Kerala,” he added.

The organisers are targeting buyers such as corporate firms, hotels, private art collectors and investors, and galleries within and outside Kerala.