India Art Fair and BMW India are coming together for the second iteration of ‘The Future is Born of Art’ Commission after its hugely successful inauguration at India Art Fair 2022. We return with the theme of ‘Forwardism’ that highlights our shared mission to create a bold and progressive future, as always, through the vision and talent of young trailblazing Indian artists.
The four shortlisted artists for the 2023 Commission — Aditi Aggarwal, Devika Sundar, Rithika Pandey and Sajid Wajid Shaikh — each bring their unique backgrounds, aesthetics and interpretations of the theme. With the power and potential of these artists, ‘Forwardism’ marks the beginning of a new movement in art, shaped by individuals unafraid to break with convention and define the progressive values of tomorrow. The BMW X7 will be the platform for the theme and mission, and the canvas for the winning artist of the Commission, who will design a wrap for the car showing us what taking a leap into the future looks like to them.
The shortlisted artists for the Commission were selected by a jury that represents some of the most influential voices in Indian art — Dr. Deepanjana Klein, the Director of Acquisitions and Development at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, acclaimed artist duo, Shalini Passi, collector and founder of MASH, and Jaya Asokan, Fair Director at India Art Fair. “Our focus as a jury this year was to pick out artists truly charting their own paths and making the art of the future, with the aim of passing the baton on to this next generation of artists to design our collective tomorrow,” shared Jaya Asokan on the process of selecting the shortlisted artists.
Along with jury votes, the winner will be selected on the basis of a public poll on the India Art Fair and BMW social media channels. Find out more about the artists below and vote for your favourite!
1. Aditi Aggarwal
Aditi Aggarwal is a painter based in Noida, who captures the noise, speed and anxiety of urban life in vibrant abstract paintings. “To me, forwardism is about understanding the values of the past, the present and its evolution in the future, and defining a state of constant motion and metamorphoses,” the artist states. Her design for BMW X7 shows a kaleidoscopic landscape that brings symbols from ancient cultures and an ultra-modern sci-fi future into a unified whole. “I wanted to combine many realities,” the artist says, “and present a future of healing and collaboration, where we exist in harmony with the ecology we depend upon.”
2. Devika Sundar
Bangalore-based artist Devika Sundar is not tied to a single medium and works with collage, painting, printmaking and photography to create meditative pieces that explore both the power and fragility of the human body. “When I think about Forwardism, I imagine a future where art, science and fiction meet and blur boundaries, to stir experiences of wonder, inspire new possibilities of discovery,” says the artist. In Sundar’s design for BMW X7, we see her vision of a deeply interconnected universe with a imagined other-worldly creatures floating in a star-studded night sky, representing “the vastly mysterious, unknowable and intertwined” nature of our human future with that of other entities from the depths of the ocean and the cosmos.
3. Rithika Pandey
Born in Varanasi, raised in Africa, and now based in Mumbai, Rithika Pandey’s paintings are all about amalgamation and transformation. Drawing from her rich trove of mythological, personal and scientific references, the artist builds new worlds full of colourful characters that feel like symbols of both the past and the future. “When I think of the future, I think of “a collective of sentient beings cohabiting this planet and working collaboratively,” says the artist describing her core concept of ‘planetary thinking’ in which there is no hierarchy between humans and non-humans. Her car wrap is a “portal” to this future, one where glowing god-like forms and beings find themselves at the centre of a new hybrid world.
4. Sajid Wajid Shaikh
For Sajid Wajid Shaikh, “the future is a dream.” The Mumbai-based artist, known for his colourful and “trippy” digital art, brings a psychedelic and surreal vision for the future in his BMW X7 wrap design. “The images on my wrap reflect a lucid dream, encouraging the suspension of disbelief,” says the artist about his method of ‘psychic automatism’ in which the unconscious mind takes control over the artistic process. In a vision that’s uniquely his, the artist offers a deeply emotional and psychological interpretation of what the future holds for all of us, with humour, colour and wit.
‘The Future is Born of Art’ Commission is presented by BMW India and India Art Fair. The winning artist will be selected on the basis of public polling and selection by the jury, and the car will be unveiled at India Art Fair 2023.