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The Survival Story Of Indian Art Market During Covid-19 Pandemic

Online platforms have already emerged as a new avenue for sales in the visual arts industry

Since its evolution, humankind has been threatened by numerous calamities but has always sustained its existence. Covid-19 is another such event that has impacted all of us and undoubtedly has forced us to rethink and reinvent the wheel in order to survive.

Every industry is trying to adapt to this new normal in order to survive and has adopted various methodologies like working from home to going completely online. Unfortunately, those involved and working in the arts-related industries have been severely impacted due to the nature of its practice. The art industry today is a 50-billion dollar industry globally.

The current pandemic has greatly limited the physical intimacy, due to social distancing, between artworks and the public. It has changed the traditional way of buying art by visiting art galleries and now people are, more than ever, willing to look online. As a boon, to an art lover, this has given more time to view catalogs and decide as per convenience.

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The Indian art market has great potential with a first-mover advantage still available for investors. The global turnover of the Indian art market is under Rs 1500 crore, including primary and secondary sales. On September 3, when an untitled 1974 oil on canvas by V S Gaitonde came under the hammer for Rs 32 crore at an auction by the Mumbai auction house Pundole’s, it set a new world record for Indian art. Globally one major evening sale of Christie’s or Sotheby’s brings in Rs 1500 crore equivalent to the global turnover of the Indian market.

The current scenario should improve by the coming year and people are more likely to fix appointments before visiting galleries to maintain social distancing.

India is witnessing a significant increase in the creation, sharing, and consumption of all forms of art digitally as people find new ways to savor creativity. The art industry has grown up by leaps and bounds, both financially and culturally. A new generation of art buyers which include entrepreneurs, company executives, and professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, are entering and driving the more affordable and contemporary art segment along with old-time art collectors.

Indian Art market
Buying paintings and other products online has been normalized now. Pixabay

While currently dominated by modern art, the Indian art industry is likely to witness contemporary art sales picking up, supported by a diversifying buyer base. Online platforms have already emerged as a new avenue for sales in the visual arts industry. Now they are picking up even more with virtual gallery tours, online art fairs, etc.

COVID-19 has impacted the lives of artists very deeply by snatching away the traditional platforms to showcase their creativity. The absence of new events, exhibitions, and public display have affected their livelihood. They have opened up to new perspectives and the impact of social distancing, isolation, survival, etc. and this has acted as a stimulus to their creativity. They have been forced to explore the virtual mediums for connectivity. Even those who were reluctant earlier are now learning and relying on social media platforms to sustain their presence.

For the people who are willing to buy artworks online, here are some tips:

– Narrow down your search to match your requirement in terms of size/ price bracket etc.

– Search and finalize artist suiting your taste

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– Browse and shortlist few artworks of the interested artist from authorized galleries working with the artist

– Contact the gallery and discuss further

– Check for high-resolution images, videos of the artwork, condition, and framing, etc.

Art is with us since the evolution of humankind and has seen various transformations from the stone-age to the digital age. We need art through the good and the bad. The immediacy of our experiencing art has been limited, but enterprising art enthusiasts have been creating a multitude of forums whereby we can experience art by newer technologies, especially experiential, real-time, augmented reality, and virtual reality formats. (IANS)

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