TAPping talent           

To face the challenges brought on by the ongoing pandemic, art galleries across the city are collaborating to bring artworks accessible through digital platforms

“New challenges trigger new ideas, it’s time to think differently” – Vinit Nair, founder of Gallery White.

Over the past few months, galleries across the city have revamped and rebuilt themselves to keep in tandem with the current situation arising from the pandemic. From restoring websites to working on their social media presence, the one thing that has caught on the most is the increased rates of collaboration between galleries.

For instance, the recently launched The Art Platform (TAP) India, a new collective platform, that brought together 14 galleries to support, advocate, collaborate and generate more visibility, explore newer markets and open private doors to conversations.

A union of art galleries from all over the country have contributed, collaborated and constituted vital aspects of this initiative. The idea is to tackle challenges brought on by the current pandemic and help galleries to pool in their collective energies, one step at a time and continue to stand as a strong voice for making Indian art accessible in these difficult times.

Prominent galleries like Latitude 28, Anant Art Gallery, Emami Art, Exhibit 320 among others have put their works together on one digital platform. With an easy-to-use interface, the website has on display virtual exhibitions curated by each gallery. New exhibitions will be put up periodically based on a pre-set schedule along with collaborative initiatives every six weeks.

“During the lockdown, I realised we all needed a collective effort and that’s how the idea of this platform was born. It will certainly be a treat for collectors and those looking to understand more about what to buy. The site will have prices and direct access to the gallery of one’s choice. The information will also be available on TAP India’s social media platforms in addition to each gallery’s sites and social media handles,” says Sharan Apparao, Founder and Director, Apparao Galleries.

The accessibility and reach of the online viewing rooms are the root cause behind the popularity of the increasing number of collaborative platforms. The easy access is also helping in creating a wide network of buyers especially amongst a young batch of collectors.

The initiative aims to tap the global markets and help the Indian art market to be stronger than ever. “TAP is a great collaborative digital initiative where galleries present select collections of artworks. This makes Indian contemporary art easily accessible and engaging to new and remote art lovers across the globe,” says Mamta Singhania of Anant Art.

Another collective, Art In Touch is already in its third edition. This digital exhibition platform has brought together 15 galleries from across India and Dubai. Editions of In Touch are on view for a brief period with each gallery presenting an exhibition that changes with every following iteration.

“In Touch has ensured visibility for art and artists, and kept us all optimistic and charged up through this difficult time. It’s also helped to take Indian contemporary art digital in a systematic way. When In Touch started in April, many of the participating galleries were new to online shows, but now I think we have a better understanding of the medium. This is great because digital is the future of art,” says Renu Modi, director of Gallery Espace.

This platform was conceived right in the early days as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused an unprecedented physical closure of public spaces and cultural institutions worldwide.

“Over the last three editions, the platform has enabled a close partnership between the participating galleries and although each edition has a diverse presentation, this kind of collaboration is unprecedented and brought us all together in many ways,” says Prateek Raja, director of Experimenter.

Like most other industries, art galleries are also cashing in on the digital wave and embracing collaborative viewing rooms as the way forward.

“The pandemic has made us all look at the new normal and traditional methods of doing business have to be re-evaluated.  The future is in online and contactless sales. Given the current scenario, I think the coming together of India’s premier galleries under one platform will help us tap into the synergies and the joint promotion of the endeavour will produce better results than individual efforts,” says Ajay Rajgaarhia, founder of Wonderwall Gallery.

The exhibitions are on display at theartplatformindia.com and artintouch.in respectively

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