Art that clicks: A look at some of the best Indian online exhibitions and virtual reality shows

A new art season is opening across the country — that of online exhibitions and 360° VR tours.  

Jaideep Sen Published :  23rd April 2020 04:55 PM   |   Published :   |  23rd April 2020 04:55 PM
Untitled by Agacharya (detail; Mahua Art Gallery)

Untitled by Agacharya (detail; Mahua Art Gallery)

In some of the more elite circles of the art world, it is considered rather improper and undignified to directly point at a painting or work of art at a show, and call for the gallerist or curator to seek an asking price.

The proper way, of course, is to place a written request, and wait for the gallery to get back with the required info — the year and condition of the frame, previous owners, display history, provenance and so on. 

In the time of the coronavirus, however, nobody has the time for any of that. And this isn’t about academic engagements at the museums, whose collections are definitely not for sale.

Across the 2020 calendar, as major festivals stand cancelled or postponed, most mainstream and leading galleries haven’t hosted a show in weeks, even as artists retreat to their studios to produce more work.

But a handful of galleries have kept up their operations, within lockdown regulations, to put out new works of art. And some of them are hosting 360 Virtual Reality tours as well, which is heartening to see.

As part of an ongoing series of features, we take a look at some of the online shows and exhibitions in India.


Conquer by Sunil Gawde


id-od; inner dimension – outer dimension 
Earlier this year, Gallery Espace hosted the magnificent show Bhoomi. Earth by Shambhavi, which was also showcased at the India Art Fair. With the lockdown, it’s unlikely that the gallery will open for the next few weeks, but you can still view works by Shambhavi and other artists including Chitra Ganesh, GR Iranna and Nilima Sheikh, among others. You can also browse through works from the gallery’s new solo show, id-od: inner dimension – outer dimension by Sunil Gawde, a noted artist who trained as a painter but evolved over the years to include sculptures and kinetic installations. Until April 29.


Untitled by Somnath Hore, black & white engraving


Somnath Hore
Gallery 88, Kolkata is a well-established hub for contemporary Indian art. During the lockdown, the gallery is hosting works from Somnath Hore: An Exhibition of Prints online. The collection offers a great study for art students of the Bengali sculptor and printmaker whose sketches, sculptures and prints were primarily in reaction to historical crises of 20th century Bengal.


Lockdown Day 23 by Dhruvi Acharya


Chemould Prescott Road 
Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai is one of the oldest commercial art institutions in India and in keeping with their reputation, the gallery is hosting three stellar solo shows, all of which are open to view (and purchase) online: Painting in the Time of Corona by Dhruvi Acharya (until May 18); Don’t Ask Me About Colour: A Retrospective of Mehlli Gobhai (until April 25); and Breathing on Mirrors by Anju Dodiya (until April 30). Catch all three shows at


Untitled by Nasreen Mohamedi


Nasreen Mohamedi & NN Rimzon 
Talwar Gallery has exhibitions being hosted at their twin presences in New York and Delhi, and you can view their works online. Both shows — Pull with a Direction by Nasreen Mohamedi (New York) and The Round Ocean and the Living Death by NN Rimzon (Delhi) — are scheduled to be held until August 15. Pull with a Direction includes drawings, prints, photographs and paintings, some on show for the first time, from the late-1950s until the 1970s, offering a rare glimpse of Mohamedi’s working process in its incipient form, while Rimzon’s show emerges from a career-long effort to craft an artistic language that speaks with the still, timeless power of India’s centuries-old belief systems and traditions.


A work by Avani Rao Gandra


Light at the End of the Tunnel: COVID-19 
ICONART Gallery, Hyderabad is hosting a virtual exhibition by Avani Rao Gandra. ‘The current COVID-19 times are indeed extraordinary, showing the mirror in the face of humanity. In the COVID playground equality, oneness and global togetherness is played in satire,’ says a note from the hosts. The works are digital in format, abstract expressionist with metaphorical symbolism, interpreting the many facets of COVID-19 times.


Untitled by Rabin Mondal


Black White and More
Emami Art, Kolkata is hosting an online exhibition showcasing some of the finest monochromatic artworks of eminent artists like Jogen Chowdhury, Rabin Mondal, SG Vasudev, Dashrath Patel, Bose Krishnamachari and Manu Parekh. The artists create magic in the showcased artworks by putting away their colourful palettes and instead focus only on shades of black, white and some more. The end result is more liberating than it sounds. One can perceive details that perhaps was not noticed before – textures and new meanings. “Beyond the black and white that we are seeing now we believe and hope that there is more,” says Richa Agarwal, CEO Emami Art, in a note about the show.


Se(a)e by Sujith SN


3D show: Seer — Seen 
Vadehra Contemporary Art Gallery, New Delhi is hosting an immersive 3D exhibition online of Sujith SN’s Seer — Seen. Sujith’s works are his reactions to the urban landscape that he encounters every day in life in Mumbai. His visual language brings together a world that is poetic, narrative, abstract and evocative all at the same time, as he paints vast landscapes flushed with light and shadows. His large-format works present a plethora of landscapes, forests, and cities, almost magical in its imagining, hinting at the discomfort with the world that he inhabits.


Keeper of Secrets 2 by Muzaffar Ali


The Other Side 
Kalakriti Gallery, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad is hosting a fabulous solo show, The Other Side: Paintings by Muzaffar Ali. Ali is a celebrated creative powerhouse, known for his masterful creations across cinema, music, art & craft as well as textile and couture. As an artist, he conveys a great deal of emotion in his frames, and this collection of his earlier oil paintings and collages showcases his powerful artistic motivations. ‘We are peeping through the myth of Muzzafar and embarking on a journey to The Other Side. It shows us how he has been a seeker of beauty and grace all his life,’ offer the hosts. Don’t miss the rare video interview footage, simulation and virtual gallery walkthrough.


Sharbendu De, An Elegy for Ecology - 2 


Speculations On A New World Order 
Shrine Empire, New Delhi is hosting the online show Speculations on a New World Order, curated by Anushka Rajendran, featuring works by Afrah Shafiq, Anoli Perera, Anupam Roy, Bhagwati Prasad, Chandan Gomes, Gautam Kansara, Omer Wasim & Saira Sheikh, Samanta Batra Mehta and Sharbendu De. 'In these times, it is important to rethink all our activities, especially in the arts industry that is severely affected, yet is able to provide many insights that could facilitate perspectives and ideas on this crisis,’ says a note from the hosts. Until May 20.


Journey by Manjunath Wali


Mahua Art Gallery 
Mahua, The Art Gallery, Bengaluru has established itself for consistently show-casing curated collections of affordable, contemporary Indian art by some of the country’s finest emerging and established artists. Through the ongoing lockdown, the selected works from the gallery’s in-house collection are available for purchase (all enquiries by request) including paintings and sculptures from new collections and works by Amit Bhar, Bandana Kumari, Elanchezhiyan P, Gopinath S, Jagannath Paul, JMS Mani, Kishore Kumar, Manjunath Wali, Shraddha Rathi, Stalin Joseph, Subrata Biswas and Sukanta Das, among others.


Installation view of Abir Karmakar’s solo show 


The last solo show hosted by GALLERYSKE, Bengaluru was Here everything is fine by Abir Karmakar. The gallery went on to represent its finest artists at the India Art Fair in New Delhi, and was set to host them at a few prominent international art festivals as well, before the global lockdown kicked in. This downtime gives patrons of the gallery a great chance to go through its extensive archives, which showcase every show — with installation views and detailed shots of artworks — hosted by them so far, including Astha Butail, Bharti Kher, Dia Mehta Bhupal, Pors & Rao, Sakshi Gupta, Sheela Gowda, Sudarshan Shetty and Tara Kelton, among others.


Twin shows by Shanthamani M and Ravikumar Kashi


Gallery Sumukha
The popular gallery in Bengaluru will remain closed until the official end of the lockdown, but until then it is hosting an online exhibition conceived by two noted artists from the city - Thinking Through Drawing by Shanthamani M and Etched Memory, paper works by Ravikumar Kashi. Until May 23.


Untitled by Sambit Panda


The Apparao Galleries network, like all other galleries in Chennai, remain closed. However, Sharan Apparao, the ever-active and enthusiastic patron of the arts, continues to curate and present new collections for people who appreciate (and buy) works of art. Their new online catalogue, being promoted on their social media channels, is titled Resurgence and tag-lined, ‘The metamorphosis of time to look forward’. The catalogue includes works by Anjolie Ela Menon, KK Hebbar, Manish Nai, Sakshi Gupta, Sujata Bajaj and Velu Viswanadhan, among many others. Updates on


Urbanscape by Gurudas Shenoy


Time and Space 
Gallery Time and Space, Bengaluru, might not have an exhibition ongoing at the moment, but their website is well updated with works by artists, sculptors and others whom they have featured over the years. Their last group show, A Paradigm Shift, hosted works by many well-known artists. Now, even with the gallery closed, you can still browse through paintings and sculptures of Amit Bhar, Arpana Caur, AV Ilango, Basuki Das Gupta, Dimpy Menon, Gurudas Shenoy, JMS Mani, Jasu Rawal, Milind Nayak, Sakti Burman, Seema Kohli, Thota Vaikuntam and many others. 


Installation view of Stone is a Forehead


Stone is a Forehead
“Stone is a forehead where dreams grieve, without curving waters and frozen cypresses. Stone is a shoulder on which to bear time, with trees formed of tears and ribbons and planets.” Gallery Experimenter, Kolkata presents Stone is a Forehead, Biraaj Dodiya’s debut solo. The title is a reference to The Laid Out Body, from the poem Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias by Federico García Lorca. Referring to personal memory, loss and coming of age, the body of work takes the form of a lament, bringing together signifiers of youth and mortality, discomfort and relief, absence and distance. Until June 30.

If you have any shows to share, let us know!  @senstays