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India Art Fair 2019 is here - in a bigger, vibrant & inclusive avatar

The India Art Fair is back! The 2019 edition of this four-day prestigious art event brings together an incredible collection of art by more than 1,000 artists from 75 galleries in India and abroad. The venue is on at the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi until 3 February.

What sets this edition of the India Art Fair (IAF) apart from previous ones is that it places inclusion firmly at the heart of things. Titled Inclusion at India Art Fair, the fair looks at diversity from various angles, and not only in terms of making it physically accessible.

We have worked very hard to make this year's show an all-inclusive event. Everyone is welcome to come and experience tactile representations of our Art Projects, and we have introduced braille guides, sign language interpreters, wheelchair services and feeding rooms. We want everyone to make the most out of our fantastic line-up of events and exhibitions. - Jagdip Jagpal, Director, India Art Fair 2019

Bringing art to all

As Jagpal says, there is an attempt to meet the needs of all visitors, with a feeding corner for nursing mothers marked out. For people with disabilities, apart from ramps to make the venue accessible for wheelchair users, there are tactile art works and maps, to name just a few.

Helping to bring the art closer to people with disabilities is a team from #AccessforAll, led by founder Siddhant Shah, the heritage architect and access consultant, who is dedicated to bridging the gap between cultural heritage and disability.

"The art on display here has been accessed from all over India and there are some unique works like the BMW Art Car", says Shah". "We also have a dedicated art project space called Maitri Art Lab, where we have displayed several works. The aim is not just accessibility, but also inclusivity".

The Maitri Art Lab offers an all-inclusive art space and will be the venue for a series of workshops on 3 January from 2 PM to 5 PM. These are ticketed events and for more details, you can mail reachaccessforall@gmail.com.

The Maitri lab itself has been designed such that anyone can enjoy it. "The tables are placed in a way that a wheelchair user can come in easily and see what is on display and participate", says Shah. "We have been working with many fairs and festivals like the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa but this time we have gone into the details at a micro level".

Over the years, the IAF has emerged as a happening art event, given the interesting mix of art projects, current practices and the focus on taking art to a younger audience. It is also a commercial marketplace for the arts, unlike other non-profit initiatives, like the biennale. The fact that such a mainstream event has embraced inclusion in a major way is a something to celebrate.

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