India’s annual art fair

The Artsy Species Decoded

There’s more to see at India’s annual art fair than art itself. Here are the sort of people you are likely to encounter there


Appearance: Expensive business suits, matching ties and shiny shoes.

Catchphrase: “How much is this?”

In Reality: Hawkeyed and money-bagged, they cluster near gallery owners and price lists. They are the answer to your question, “Who buys this stuff ?!”


Appearance: Effortlessly hipster, whether traditionally Indian or otherwise. Highly accessorised.

Catchphrase: “Why don’t you come to my studio sometime and have a look?”

In Reality: Hang around them for the dope on the art world and other artists. They have the best stories that only border on gossip. (They might scandalise you, so keep an open mind.)


Appearance: Chic dresses, great make-up, a bag worth at least your month’s salary.

Catchphrase: “Oh my god, you look lovely! This stuff is gorgeous!”

In Reality: They blend perfectly with the art. Track them by following the sound of laughter and clinks of champagne glasses. They probably have educational qualifications that you didn’t even know existed.


Appearance: Often traditional, with bold accessories.

Catchphrase: “The juxtaposition of the Impressionistic and Modernist technique with the pastel colour palette is phenomenal.”

In Reality: They have the ability to read an artist’s mind. They know what they’re talking about. Approach with caution and a dictionary in hand.


Appearance: A wornout suit, stubble and hair that looks like it hasn’t met a comb in a while. A typically wrinkled look.

Catchphrase: “Yes, this work is good. But can you repeat the drink, please?”

In Reality: Helping themselves to snacks and free drinks. Experts on art openings with the best bars. Clueless about art.