Wolverhampton might not be the first place you’d think of when looking for contemporary Indian art but, thanks to master collector Frank Cohen, or ‘the Saatchi of the North’ (as the London-centric UK art scene refers to him), his Initial Access gallery holds one of the finest collections outside of the Indian subcontinent.
‘A Passage to India Part II’ follows the very successful Part I exhibition held last year at Initial Access, which introduced Frank Cohen’s extensive collection of Indian painters and sculptors for the first time to the UK market.
Though of course it’s difficult to sum up an entire scene from one exhibition – the works on show share many of the qualities we’ve seen in recent exhibitions of emerging art scenes from the Middle and Far East: an appreciation of Western art but work that is very much rooted in their cultural tradition – be that through symbol, colour, concept or theme.
Much of the work on show is provocative but beautiful and deals with subject matters inherent in daily Indian life – alongside social inequality, violence and famine there are more sedate references to developing technology, the importance of the family and the religious tradition.
We quizzed Frank Cohen on why he started collecting Indian art and how, as one of the UK’s foremost contemporary art collectors, he sees the scene changing under the current climate.