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Offbeat Indian Art Festivals Worth Travelling For

Offbeat Indian Art Festivals Worth Travelling For


Offbeat Indian Art Festivals Worth Travelling For

A guide to the the Indian art scene beyond Delhi and Mumbai.

For too long now, Delhi and Mumbai have been exclusive hotbeds of contemporary artistic expression. All the major festivals, whether it is the old horse Kala Ghoda or the swanky new India Art Fair with its steeply-priced tickets, have been largely confined to these two metros.

But if the Kochi Biennale is any indication, the Indian art scene seems to be branching out into unexpected towns. We list 5 such art events that are worth travelling for.

Jaipur Art Summit

Even if it was unknown outside the art world, the Jaipur Art Summit attained the glow of controversy last year. Of course, like everything else in the country these days, it had bovine origins. An inflated plastic cow installation intended to raise awareness against harm done by plastic rubbish, actually brought in disgruntled cops. The five-day festival focuses on modern and contemporary art.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale

A biennale is any event that takes place ‘every other year’, two years to be precise, but the term has come to be associated with contemporary art festivals since the first Venice Biennale in 1895. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is special on account of being the first of its kind in India, but also because it is a grand showcase of local and international talent in all fields of fine art including sculpture and installation. The first artist expected to open this year is the Chilean poet Raúl Zurita.

Rishikesh Street Art Festival

Rishikesh is saturated with meditation, but with so many influences from overseas mingling with the local favours, it was only a matter of time until the peaceful vibes manifested themselves in a profusion of street art and murals. Started last year, it is a community-funded initiative we hope to see more of.

Conquer the Concrete

We love the name! This is the supposedly orthodox Chennai getting back with a really cool collaboration between local and international graffiti artists, and traditional cinema-poster artists. Supported by Goethe Institut Chennai and Max Mueller Bhavan, the result was more than 20 walls of bright and beautiful artworks.

Vadodra International Art & Culture Festival

Vadodra is not all that unlikely an art venue actually; one just wonders what took it so long to realise its incredible artistic heritage built on one man, one extremely important man, called Raja Ravi Varma. When they (the Gujarat Govt) says ‘arts’, they include everything from music to food and vintage cars (uh-huh). But the fine arts section is pretty impressive too. Last year VadFest (that’s what they call it on the website) featured masterpieces by Nasreen Mohamedi,  Jyotsna Bhatt and the likes.

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