02/22/2012 11:34 am ET

How Art Fits Into India's New Economy

Newly keen on art as investment, Indian collectors are coming out of the woodwork to invigorate the country's previously dormant contemporary art scene. As its economy swells, India is becoming a haven for in art patrons.

Some 40% of works sold at this year's India Art Fair were to first time collectors and industry insiders like Seven Art Ltd.'s Aparajita Jain see the trend as a sign of the new generation's interest in new displays of wealth.

"We're just satisfying our needs for our cars, our private jets, our yachts, you know, swanky homes. It's only after that a person begins to really say, 'Okay, we've spent a lot of that' and then they start to look at art then."

India Art Fair founder Neha Kirpal notes that individuals with this collecting power are still relatively rare in her country and that it is really large companies that have been driving the art market boom. Kirpal told 5min, "In a country that lacks museums and there are very few private galleries, the development of the art is largely driven by the private sector."

Companies like Religare have lead the way in investing for the burgeoning market. Founded in 2007, the Religare Arts Initiative is India's first corporate sponsored arts organization, specializing in exhibitions, workshops and research. The boost in art advocacy is only likely to increase as support is bolstered by companies that then set the pace for India's newly affluent.

What do you think, readers? Do you think this art collecting boom will last?