AFP released an article in December 2011 on Lado Sarai, an art district that has sprung up in the southwest of New Delhi. Art Radar takes a closer look at the proliferating galleries and art spaces in the area and examines the reasons behind this sudden growth.

Bose Krishnamachari, 'White Builders And The Red Carpets', 2008, on display at Exhibit 320.

Click here to read the original article, titled “Wealth brings art to Delhi’s new gallery district”, as published by AFP in December 2011.

As suggested in a recent Art Radar post on the India Art Fair, held at the end of January 2012, members of India’s growing middle class, especially those of the younger generation, are beginning to diversify their investment portfolios by acquiring artwork. These collectors are often new to the art scene, welcome exposure to different art forms and are keen to increase their knowledge in art. As such, the country is at the top of the list for international gallerists and art professionals who are focusing on emerging art markets. Local dealers, too, are looking for larger and more flexible exhibition spaces to show contemporary art.

In 2009, the owner of Anant Art Gallery, Mamta Singhania, was the first person to open a gallery in Lado Sarai. Located in the southwest of New Delhi, it is a district full of small retail stores selling mostly clothes and food, and is close to Hauz Khas, a hip locale for art and culture. Given that the area also enjoys relatively low rent on large spaces, it is no surprise that other galleries soon followed Singhania’s example and moved in to the area. The AFP article notes,

The attraction of Lado Sarai is its status as an autonomous village, which means it is not subject to the restrictive planning policies of the municipal authorities, and rents are far lower than in central Delhi.

Lado Sarai's Location

A map of New Delhi and Lado Sarai, map data, 2012, © Google.

Since Anant Art opened its doors less than three years ago, more than fifteen galleries have followed suit, each with a different focus and level of quality: Exhibit 320, opened by Rasika Kajaria, a young collector turned gallerist, supports younger artists and experimental art, Anant Art Gallery promotes cutting edge contemporary Indian art and Art.Motif shows contemporary abstract and non-figurative paintings by both emerging and established artists. Established by the Bajaj Capital Art House, Art Positive is both a gallery and a café. While the gallery offers artworks in various media and provides art advisory services, the café, called “Book CaféArteria”, holds regular events and serves as a hot spot for art professionals and collectors looking to exchange ideas. Other galleries in the area include Gallery Threshold, Art Eterne, Latitude 28, Krishna’s Collection, Must Art Gallery and Artoholic’s.

Lado Serai is now a busy, popular art district where collectors can find a variety of galleries and artwork in one spot. And since the galleries are all roughly located on the same street, visitors can hop from one to the other easily. In fact, rather than competing with each other, the galleries often benefit from their close proximity by scheduling exhibition openings and public events on the same night, such as ‘Art Nite at Lado Sarai‘, which took place in October 2011.

A visitor looks at paintings in Must Art Gallery. Photo credit: Sajjad Hussain.


Related Topics: Indian artAsia expands, gallery shows

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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