January is the month of the India Art Fair. And even if you’re not slated to be in Delhi but would like to indulge then we’ve got some suggestions. Instagram, the great showcase of everything, is also a wonderful gallery for creatives who aren’t that embedded in the formal art market. For this story we spoke to a number of people and narrowed down a tiny selection of Indian art-makers who are discoverable on social media. If you’re just getting started or thinking about becoming an art buyer, then social media also affords the ability to explore without judgement and peruse without pressure.
We asked Shreemoyee Moitra, gallery manager at Akara Art, Mumbai, how one decides when there’s so much out there and what to keep in mind. “Art is very personal. One should always buy pieces they feel a connection with—especially emotionally. If you’re eyeing a piece online, but unsure about buying it, visit the artist’s studio or research a bit to know the story behind their works. The more immersed you are in the world of art, the more you’ll start to discover and recognise your own aesthetics.” But she’s got a word of caution: “You will have to live with the art you buy, holding on to it sometimes for generations. While buying, always ask for its supporting documents for provenance and authenticity.”
Across art, photography and installations, the following is a teeny-tiny list of the many possibilities out there…
1. Aniruddh Mehta
It is very likely you’ve already seen graphic designer and visual artist Aniruddh Mehta’s work over the past couple of years. Perhaps when you were Netflixing? The logo and opening title sequence for Netflix’s Sacred Games—which was heavily inspired by the Mahabharata—was created by him. Inspired by shapes in nature, and mathematical and design rules, he founded Studio Bigfat, which has become an established name in the independent music movement in Mumbai, and also well known for projects done with brands such as Puma, Redbull and Adidas. Aniruddh’s recent work ‘Perfect’, showcased as an art solo at Method Gallery, Mumbai, is a deviation from his usual style of geometric perfection. He created the ‘Perfect’ series in order to rewire his idea of perfection and embrace fluidity in the creative process.
While partially sold out, ‘Perfect’ can be bought online at Method
Each original artwork (acrylic on paper) priced at ₹35,000
Perfect 06 by Aniruddh Mehta (acrylic on paper)
Where Home Is by Treibor Mawlong(wood cut on paper)
2. Treibor Mawlong
From the Khasi hills of Meghalaya, contemporary artist Treibor Mawlong creates bold, dark sceneries on wood depicting everyday people and their daily lives. His woodcut prints have a graphic novelesque sensibility—a stark contrast from the colours and textures of his real-life surroundings. From a group of youths drinking under a streetlight to patients waiting their turn at the hospital, Mawlong’s work reflects on various memories and observations to create melancholic beauty from life’s movements.
Prices start at ₹11,760
3. Ekta Singha
With an interest in Mughal, Persian and Rajput miniature paintings, Ekta Singha uses multiple media and materials to create pieces of art inspired by daily life. Using a mix of photographs, texts, prints, and designs, her conceptual work juxtaposes an interpretation of her experiences with the paraphernalia of design motifs, forms, and elements derived from miniature paintings.
Original artworks can be bought on Artisera
Prices start at ₹15,680
Nothing Means Everything by Ekta Singha (mixed media on paper)
BLUED 2 by Sameer Kulavoor (screenprint on paper)
4. Sameer Kulavoor
As a visual artist, Sameer Kulavoor’s work mixes art, graphic design and contemporary illustration to create paintings, murals, books, zines, prints and objects. His commercial design work has included designs for NH7 Weekender; along with books and zines, such as ‘BLUED’, in which he paid homage to the blue tarp that the city protects itself with in the rains. “It is interesting to see Sameer Kulavoor's evolution from graphic design to painting, and his ability to capture everyday life in the city,” says Hena Kapadia, gallery
director, Tarq. In a collaboration with British fashion design Paul Smith, Kulavoor created a series of t-shirts with four drawings from ‘The Ghoda Cycle Project’—a visual documentation of the cycling culture in India.
Sameer Kulavoor’s graphic designs, books and prints are available at Kulture Shop
Original artworks can be bought at Tarq, Mumbai
Prices for original artworks start at ₹28,000
5. Nibha Sikander
“Nibha Sikander's practice is unique not only with the way she recreates detailed layered creatures with paper but also because she sheds light on the beauty of nature depleting rapidly with climate crisis,” says Hena Kapadia. A graduate of The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, you may have stumbled upon Nibha Sikander’s intricate paper-cut works of insects, birds and butterflies on Instagram. She regularly displays the fine details of her work which captures every speckle and dusting on the tiny feathers, limbs, and tentacles of winged creatures. As you scroll from post to post, it will prove difficult to recognise the difference
Crimson Spotted Emerald by Nibha Sikander (coloured paper, archival paper, paper cut)
A solitary man crossing a bridge over the Siang river (archival inks and paper) by Ritesh Uttamchandani
6. Ritesh Uttamchandani
Starting his career in the photo department of The Indian Express in 2004, over a decade and a half later, Ritesh Uttamchandani, has documented some significant moments in India and overseas, with many of his works being published in the Hindustan Times newspaper and magazines. Ritesh doesn’t consider himself to be a conventional photographer shooting landscapes or static portraits, instead he describes his work as a little more ponderous, cryptic and humorous. For photography commissions, Ritesh makes it a point to meet or visit the buyer's
space to understand their motivation for being interested in a specific work, and the space that will host it. This helps him produce prints, which he usually leaves untitled, and custom-made for each client. Ritesh has also self-published a beautiful minimalistic book of Mumbai photos called The Red Cat and Other Stories, which is available on Amazon.
All prints and commissions can be enquired here
Prints range from 8 x 8 inches up to three feet, with prices beginning at ₹25,000
7. Kuber Shah
From buildings to places and faces, lifestyle photographer Kuber Shah started documenting the city of Mumbai, its architecture, people and stories after returning in 2014 from a 15-year stay in Berlin. He also documents the facades of Mumbai’s old buildings and heritage structures through his project, Doors of Mumbai. Through his vibrant photos, Shah captures various facets of the Maximum City’s architectural heritage and it’s proved very popular
Art Deco Staircases by Kuber Shah (print on archival paper)
Locked (oil on canvas) by Diana Joseph
8. Diana Joseph
As a self-taught artist, Diana Joseph turned to painting as a cathartic release from life’s daily stresses and anxiety. While she struggles from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, she continues to use the tips of her fingers to sketch or paint wild animals. From finely detailing a spray of colours and every hair in an animal’s coat of fur to bringing out the luminosity and real-life depth in its eyes, Joseph’s immersive wildlife art has been commissioned and found in the homes of several art collectors in India and overseas.
Original artwork can be commissioned on request by contacting +91 9605315551
Prices depend upon requests, but remain under ₹1,00,000
9. Hersh Acharya
Hersh Acharya is an attorney by day, and amateur photographer when he’s not practicing law. For the past decade, Hersh’s photography has focused on the details and vignettes of the streets and daily life of his home city, Mumbai, and on his travels across the globe. Hersh began taking pictures he was still a college student, but it has since become an important artistic expression for him.
All images are available in custom sizes on request via email
Prices range from ₹10,000 to ₹14,000
Clean (Pench National Park) by Hersh Acharya (printed on acid-free archival paper)
Odd 03 (acrylic on fiber glass) by Smita Sahu-Hamzeh
10. Smita Sahu-Hamzeh
As a visual communicator, Smita Sahu-Hamzeh looks to nature and the ordinary for inspiration. She experiments with various media and materials producing works that vary from acrylic on canvas, even fibre glass to digital prints on archival paper. She pairs unusual colours in her own style of asymmetric strokes to create very compelling forms.
Original works from ‘Odd Mercies’ can be bought online at Method
Prices start at ₹21,500
11. Smriti Dixit
Drawing on small moments and intimate interactions, Smriti Dixit uses hand-made techniques to create art pieces by stitching, or quilting different fabrics and threads together. With a palette of variously textured materials and plastics, she embraces the processes of experimentation and creation to communicate the concepts of rebirth, recycling and renewal. “Smriti’s works have a rare quality of being contemporary and yet having a timelessness about them. Her ability to transform everyday objects and recycled materials into her art invites the viewer to form their own personal connect with the artwork,” says Sangeeta Raghavan, gallery director, Art Musings.
Original artworks begin at ₹60,000
Email Art Musings, Mumbai, for more information
Agyatyouvna by Smriti Dixit (fabric and found objects)
Forgotten Memories (mixed media) by Sajeev Visweswaran
12. Sajeev Visweswaran
Residing between New Delhi and Ann Arbor, Sajeev Visweswaran is a visual artist whose work is made of minimalist lines and measured etchings. Through his art in mixed media, water colours, prints or installations, he depicts life’s mundane activities, still life and the interiors of spaces by focusing on the idea of absence and presence, and political sensibilities.
Prices start at $300
13. Devrai Art Village
As a non-profit initiative, Devrai Art Village provides livelihood for a group of skilled adivasi craftsmen and artists from the Naxalite affected areas of Gadchiroli and Chattisgarh. Now located in a village in Punchgani, these artists use materials such as iron, brass, stone, wood, bamboo and fabric in their artworks which celebrate the creativity of nature.
Original installations and artefacts can be bought on Mojarto
Prices start at ₹6,500
Swan (brass, Dhokra casting) by Devrai Art Village
Lithified Lives (paper clay, slips, ash, glass, China clay, ceramic waste, found copper, iron oxide and stains fired at 1240°C and re-fired at 1000°C) by Savia Mahajan
14. Savia Mahajan
“Through her bold exploration of materials and tactile nature of works, Savia Mahajan beautifully captures existence and liminality,” says Hena Kapadia of TARQ gallery. Formally trained as a painter, Mahajan uses varied materials such as paper, clay, ash, glass and ceramic waste, to create unique sculptural pieces that explore questions of life, death and everything in between.
Prices start at ₹84,000
15. Jasjyot Singh Hans
Inspired by an explosive neon mix of fashion, music and pop culture, Illustrator Jasjyot Singh Hans’ work chronicles themes of body image, sexuality and self-love. From working with tech giants such as Google and Snapchat to fashion designers Sabyasachi and Manish Arora, Hans’ illustrations have dominated social media and the digital verse.
Prices start at ₹900
BASK (screenprint) by Jasjyot Singh Hans
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