Monday, Nov 28, 2022
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Great Himalayan National Park Diary

Looking For An Upgrade

Looking For An Upgrade
Looking For An Upgrade
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The Spanish government may have just slipped into a recession, but they couldn’t have been more generous in their hospitality—a fact the 40-member-strong team of journalists from four continents would endorse. All stops were pulled out to keep us happy. Transported on a luxury bus from our super-luxury designer five-star hotel, we drove through the beautiful city of Madrid. With the sun shining brightly in a crisp sky and a line of snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees forming a natural wall on one side, we arrived at the fair site. An art fair is similar to any other trade fair, except that it is a fair in which art galleries participate. Arco Madrid 2009 had more than 250 galleries participating, from around the globe.

India this year was the guest country at Arco Madrid. And it was a disaster royale. I was embarrassed to see the insipid show our galleries had put together. The works of some 50 extremely talented Indian artists were on display, in a manner that was both unimaginative and tacky. Gallery Nature Morte and Jitish Kallat’s life-size installation of a skeleton structure of a potable water truck—put up by Gallery Haunch of Venison, UK—being the only saving grace. The other Indian galleries either lacked the experience or the creative finesse required to exhibit on a stage as big as Arco Madrid. Though the Spaniards tried everything they could to make India’s presence felt—all the 100-odd exhibition personnel sported India badges and the Indian tricolour was prominently displayed everywhere—it failed to create the buzz expected of a guest country. What a pity, for an opportunity as splendid as Arco Madrid could have put our artists on the international map.

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