The year saw several big-ticket shows, Indian art and artists making a mark worldwide, while the market back home reeled under the impact of demonetisaWhen the year began, people were still walking through knee-deep water to experience the rippling sea and the woes of the Syrian refugees, in Raul Zurita’s Sea of Pain, on display at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Soon, the crowds moved to the India Art Fair (IAF) in Delhi, where demonetisation seemed to have affected the market as well as the enthusiasm. There were some celebrated works though — including Sudarshan Shetty’s Taj Mahal, and Reena Kallat’s Woven Chronicle, a global tapestry with a giant world map made with multi-coloured wires, tracing the movement of migrants across the world. Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum made her debut in India with All The Flowers Are For Me, an installation with elaborate laser cut-outs in steel. The first quarter also saw several major solos — Jitish Kallat, Atul Dodiya, Thukral and Tagra and Ranjani Shettar in Delhi, Ayesha Sultana in Kolkata and Gieve Patel in Mumbai.
The summer was uneventful, but with the onset of monsoons, new exhibitions were held inside the white cube. Delhi saw a powerful retrospective of Manu Parekh, Samit Das’ explorations of the Santiniketan archives, Jatin Das’ portraits of friends and acquaintances, and the late artist-pedagogue KG Subramanyan’s seminal political works. In Mumbai, the year ended with Sudhir Patwardhan’s meditations on aging and a retrospective of Sakti Burman. The year 2017 also saw one of the most innovative museum shows in the world — the landmark exhibition “India and the World: A History in Nine Stories”, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai. Even as painted elephants are stopping by at numerous cities in India as part of Elephant Parade, we also have what is being touted as India’s first Sculpture Park at Nahargarh Fort in Rajasthan.