Meet Art's Finest Gems

Cosmo brings to you the hottest new (and some veteran) artists to watch out recommended by four of the country’s most prolific art fair and festival directors

By Bose Krishnamachari, Biennale Director, Kochi-Muziris Biennale

What Does The Vessel Contain That The River Does Not, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2012-2013

Subodh Gupta “Trained at the College of Art, Patna, Subodh’s works encompass paintings, sculpture, photography, installations, and performances. He is mostly known for arresting, large-scale sculptural installations that employ everyday objects of Indian life, like the steel utensils in our kitchens.”

Go Away Closer, Hayward Gallery, London, 2013

Dayanita Singh “Delhi-based Dayanita uses photography to create visual productions that surpass most conventions of lens-based practice. Besides installation and performance art, she’s also a master of artist-book-making. Recently, she has been working on a series of mobile museums where her images can be edited, arranged, and displayed in different ways.”

Open Eye Policy, Institute of Irish Museum, 2015

Sheela Gowda “Winner of the prestigious Maria Lassnig Prize, Sheela’s thoughtful practice employs materials like cowdung, human hair, wood, and incense. Her works are not just visually appealing, but are also performative and process-oriented. She draws on the experiences of labour, gender and migration in India. She has had major shows at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Serpentine Gallery in London, Devi Art Foundation in New Delhi, and Centre Pompidou in Paris, among others.”

Shoonya Ghar, Yinchuan Biennale, 2016

Sudarshan Shetty “Mumbai-based Sudarshan Shetty is an alumnus of the JJ School of Art. Over the past three decades, his art has evolved from being centred on painting, to multi-media explorations that involve sculpture, video, performance and installation. Experimenting with scale and motion, Sudarshan’s works frequently involve bringing together heterogeneous object-worlds, insinuating into the familiar an intimation of the strange and the new.”

The Sovereign Forest, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2012-2013

Amar Kanwar “A Delhi-born artist and filmmaker, Amar’s work involves rigorous research into violence and war. His practice reflects on the personal, social and political domains of contemporary life. In his works, Amar explores different terrains like labour, land rights, and ecology.”

By Smriti Rajgharia, Director, Serendipity Arts Festival

Hibiscus River, using fabric and mixed media (2015), SAF 2019

Smriti Dixit “Smriti’s work is inspired by small moments and intimate interactions. Her artwork details the processes of experimentation and creation, to communicate the concepts of rebirth, recycling, and renewal. She fashions objects carefully, using handmade techniques, while engaging in the tactility of her materials. Two of her works, Hibiscus River and Yatra were showcased at SAF 2018, as part of Ranjit Hoskote’s The Sacred Everyday: Embracing the Risk of Difference.”

Lucid Sleep brought by HH Art Spaces, SAF 2016

Murari Jha “Born in Darbhanga, Bihar, Murari is a gold medalist in Painting from Patna University and Dr BR Ambedkar University, Agra. Currently, however, he works across different disciplines from paintings and performance-art to installations and videos. What’s exciting about Murari’s artwork is that it highlights his everyday experiences of social- and body-politics, space and sexuality, making him a relevant voice in today’s time and age.”

From the series Isometris, using archival photographs and mix media, 2018

Sukanya Ghosh “An artist, animator and designer, Sukanya has been excavating her family albums to create collages and montages, using a combination of cut-and-paste, digital manipulation and animation. Her work is a fascinating combination of refurbished narratives and productions, which incorporates geometry, history, and part-memory.”

Thousand Individuals as part of the Young Subcontinent, SAF 2017

Latifa Zafar Attaii “In 2017, this young, Afghan artist participated in the Serendipity Arts Festival’s (SAF) Young Subcontinent. Much of Latifa’s work is inspired by her childhood, which she spent weaving carpets amidst the Hazara community in Quetta, Pakistan. As a young girl, she had to deal with identity politics and face discrimination in her motherland, an experience that eventually shaped her as an artist and influenced her work. Case in point: Thousand Individuals, which consists of numerous passport-sized photographs...the faces woven in by various colourful threads.”

The Geographies of Deliverance from A Tale Of Two Cities, SAF 2016

Anoli Perera “Delhi-based Anoli is a Sri-Lanka-origin painter, sculptor, and installation artist. Her work is deeply personal and deals primarily with memory. She has worked across the spectrum—feminist expression and craftsmanship, history, mythology, photo-performance—and has used various materials like stone, textile, lace, and scrap materials to create stunning bricolages.”

By Jagdip Jagpal, Director, India Art Fair

Para Pivot, 2019

Alicja Kwade “Berlin-based Alicja focuses on the structures of reality, and often manipulates perceptions of time and space. For example, her latest project Para Pivot installed atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is an intriguing interpretation of the universe. In it, nine marbled spheres shaped like planets—some of which weigh more than a tonne—sit suspended among a series of interlocking steel frames. Standing in front of this celestial installation, one can’t help but feel a sense of wonder on the vastness of the Universe.”

Pulp: A short biography of the banished book

Shubigi Rao “Along with being an artist, Shubigi is also a writer with myriad interests, ranging from history, archaeology, gender, literature, and violence to migratory patterns, ecology and natural history. I’m thrilled that from participating in biennales around the world, she will now get to lead one as a curator at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2020.”

At The Start Of Fatehgunj

Neeraj Kadamboor “Currently in his final year of BVC Programme (Painting), Neeraj likes to paint impressions of his student life at the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda, where he lives and studies. I adore his playful depiction of common spaces like stairways, corridors, hostel rooms and library corners, all executed in distinct, bold lines and vibrant colours.”

Detachment, 1995

Jelili Atiku “I first saw the Nigerian artist in Palermo, Italy, in the summer of 2018, as he led a striking processional performance through the city streets during the opening of Manifesta 12. A multimedia artist, his work is primarily dominated by issues that threaten our collective existence, from violence and war to corruption and climate change.”

Detail of Hundreds Of Birds Killed, Pavillion of Pakistan, 2019

Naiza Khan “Naiza has had an incredible international career. This year, she contributed to the first-ever Pakistan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. True to her multidisciplinary background, she presented images, objects and observations, collected over two decades, giving an account of contemporary life in Pakistan: a fast-developing economy caught between a colonial past and a neo-colonial future.”

By Anant Ahuja, Co-Founder, The Irregulars Art Fair

Aditi Damle “Drawing inspiration from human emotions, plant forms and pop culture, Aditi started out as an illustrator and worked on articles commissioned by various international publications. Eventually, she progressed to working on hand-painted murals and ceramic pieces. In fact, she’s one of the very few young artists who has gone beyond the traditional medium of illustration to explore various materials. And that’s truly groundbreaking!”

Aditya Verma “Aditya’s work has no specific structure and he isn’t trying to fit into a mould. He recently came out, which is evident in all his work...that he was trying to project his suppressed feelings and emotions in his art. Another great aspect of his work is that the lines flow beautifully through his feels as though he starts at one point and then just goes with the flow.”

Anatomy Of A Democracy

Portia Roy “Portia’s pieces aren’t art just for the sake of art. Based on her personal experiences, she subtly imbibes a lot of feminist values and socio-political satire in her work. For instance, Anatomy Of A Democracy is a commentary on the current political atmosphere in the country.”

Before The Atrophy

Rithika Pandey “Mumbai-based Rithika hyper-personifies simple elements in her artwork. For instance, in Before The Atrophy, a snake is seen curling around the neck of a black panther that has been shot by an arrow, and a weird silhouette foreshadows it. The piece has the appeal of a fancy dressing room interspersed with everyday mundane objects. At first glance, it seems simple, but it’s also complex in what it’s trying to say. It’s like a painting within a painting that explores the idiosyncrasies and absurdities of human existence.”

Sunil Yadav “Sunil’s work comprises of precise, intricate, and meticulous lines that are akin to software-generated architectural drawings; except, he does them with a free hand. You’ll also find a lot of Easter eggs—for example, the snail seen here—hidden in his art.”