February 15, 2018


By MOA Desk

From February 9 to 11, the capital also saw an anti art-fair for independent artists in an empty factory building located in Khirki Extension in Malviya Naga, New Delhi. The organisers say about the fair could be a catalyst to foster dialogues that transcends prescribed geographies, hierarchies, and markets. Aiming to create a cultural community amongst all genres of art and culture, TIAF’s aim was to present artists in spaces that are not originally created for an art exhibition and to display their art in ways that are not usually meant for displaying. Anoop Kamath, Editor-in-Chief of Matters of Art (MOA) talks to Curator and Founder Member of TIAF Tarini Sethi talks about this immersive experience.

MOA: We have a bunch of art fairs already! Why The Irregulars Art Fair (TIAF)?

Tarini Sethi: I think the name itself got quite a lot of attention and got quite an interesting bunch of people to apply. Even their proposals had the word ‘irregular’ in there to score extra points. The Irregulars Art Fair was created to shamelessly make a point that it was India’s First Anti-Art Fair, which meant that it was aimed to towards fringe and independent artists only.

MOA: Different it is. How long ago did you start planning for TIAF?

Sethi: We started planning around four weeks ago. It was all quite impromptu and natural. I decided to do it, and started making a website and then my partner came on board and it was 3 weeks of manic running around and planning from there.

MOA:  Who are the people behind this fair?

Sethi: Anant Ahuja and I are the founders. I curated the whole show while he handled all the business and social media side of it with his studio Bridge Studios. We also had Karyakrum come on board who did all the programming of the music, Workshop POV who helped us with all the exhibition design and lighting, Raasta who provided food for the three days and an army of volunteers without which nothing would have been possible.

MOA: How did you rustle up the resources for TIAF? Was it a tough challenge?

Sethi: It was quite tough mostly Anant and I spent money from our own pockets while pulling little favours from different people. Luckily we had quite a few friends who were ready to come on board and help out free of cost and pretty much all our advertising was organic so that definitely helped.

MOA: How did you reach out to the artists?

Sethi: We made a simple one page website that had a call for submissions page and a call for volunteers and then just shared wit on every social media channel that we were a part of and asked our friends to share it and eventually a lot of people knew about it and we got around 200 submissions in one week.

MOA: How many artists did you short list for participation?

Sethi: We shortlisted 54 artists which was quite a challenge considering the number that applied. We gave ourself a 30 artists cut-off, but I kept adding more to the list because there were so many amazing proposals sent!

MOA:  Tell us about the works which impressed you as a curator?

Sethi: As the curator I wouldn't want to pick one work out form the other but I did enjoy the variety of different mediums, especially new media like media tech that I don't see much of.

MOA:  What did the audience like?

Sethi: It was quite interesting to see the audience response. Art being so subjective, everyone had their own favourites. A real crown puller was Tushar Goyal’s sensory interactive piece that responded to any kind of movement.

MOA:  How were the footfalls for TIAF? Could it have been better?

Sethi: The footfall was mad! I definitely did not expect so many people to come. We had around 600 walk ins on the first two days respectively and 700 on the last day. I don't think there was a minute where the place wasn't completely packed.

MOA: What about the sale of artworks?

Sethi: We also had quite a few sales. Everyone had their favourites and we are still getting inquiries for prices.

MOA:  What now? Where does TIAF go from here?

Sethi: Great question! I think after a week of a breather of sorts we will all get together and decide what are plan is. We definitely want to make this an annual event and have smaller events every few months but that's all that we got for you till now. I will say keep an ear and eye out!