The founder of arguably one of India’s largest art galleries, Rakhi Sarkar has made it her mission to distill art to the public since 1986
Artwork by Gourishankar Soni

CIMA Art Mela is a casual affordable art exhibition that encourages millennials and the public to take home a taste for art
Artwork by Chandan Panda

The mela celebrates 10 years at New Delhi’s Habitat Center, with hundreds of donations from artists
Artwork by Sanjeev Sonpimpare

Rakhi Sarkar, Owner at CIMA Gallery, Kolkata

Affordable art by some of India's most loved names comes to Art Mela in Delhi

by Reecha Kulkarni Apr 24, 2018 The founder of arguably one of India’s largest art galleries, Rakhi Sarkar has made it her mission to distill art to the public since 1986, after she curated one of her first major exhibitions, ‘Visions’. “I showcased 200 works from artists like Bikash Bhatacharya, Ganesh Pyne and Shomnath Hore. However, the artists were relatively unknown to anyone except the artist community,” she tells us. 

‘Visions’ then drove Rakhi to craft an 11,000 sq. ft. space into Kolkata’s Centre of International Modern Art. And in 2008 – she launched the CIMA Art Mela, a casual affordable art exhibition to encourage millennials and the public to take home a taste for art. 

“In Kolkata, we have regular 'addas' where friends sit and discuss issues, chat and often debate (artworks) while sipping on chai and eating samosas,” she says. “The Art Mela is just that – an informal setting where you can pick up a piece of artwork (as most of them aren’t hung), take it to your friends and discuss it. You may just chance upon the artist as well!” 

Starting with only a handful of Bengali artists who donated their works in 2008, the mela now celebrates 10 years at New Delhi’s Habitat Center, with hundreds of donations from artists all over India like Jogen Choudhury and Arpita Singh, at prices starting from Rs 3,000. 
  
“My aim was to set up a state-of-the-art centre that would showcase both Indian and international art to establish the historicity of art by documenting, publishing and archiving its story from mid 19th century to the current times,” she says. “Now it’s in Delhi, but we hope to make the CIMA Art Mela into a pan-India episode.”

Where: Visual Arts Gallery, Gate No. 2, India Habitat Centre, LodhiRoad, New Delhi 03
When: 26 - 30 April 2018

Rakhi Sarkar, Owner at CIMA Gallery, Kolkata