India has a long history of art over many centuries, with rich painting traditions in different styles and forms across the country. With the coming of the 20th century and Indian independence in 1947, different art movements sprung up, and cities such as Baroda, Mumbai, and Calcutta became important centers of modern art. There were a relatively small number of artists who lived through the turmoil of independence and India's cultural and indentity struggles as a young country, as well as had the opportunity to travel and study internationally. Their experiences in India and exposure to the West helped them develop meaningful and powerful oeuvres, making them acclaimed world over. This led to a huge boom in the Indian art market in the late 90s and the 2000s. As a result, artists such as MF Husain, SH Raza, and FN Souza are now household names amongst international and Indian collectors.
The Indian artists people learnt about in the late 90s and the 2000s are more or less still the same artists people talk about world over. There is an entire generation of artists who have come up in the post-boom era since 2010, leading to a vibrant and flourishing contemporary art scene today. However, this generation can sometimes be relatively limited in terms of exposure to international collectors, perhaps as a result of the cooling off in the Indian art market over the last ten years.
Outliers is a young gallery. Our mission is to promote international awareness of the contemporary art scene in India through a variety of programming, from established artists well represented in musuem and private collections around the world, to young artists doing great work. We believe that you don't need to break the bank to get great art on your wall - and we hope our programming reflects that. We will use online shows and exhibitions with transparent pricing to democratize access to our work, and we will also supplement these with physical shows, starting in the Bay Area.
We invite you to join us on this journey. Please explore our artists, artworks, and online shows on this website, and always feel free to get in touch with us to chat!
About the Founders
Outliers was started by Akshay Kothari and Arjun Agarwal, who met at Stanford University, and were roommates.
Both of them have spent a fair bit of time in the world of technology: Arjun was an early employee at Arista, which went public in 2014. Akshay started a company called Pulse, which was acquired by LinkedIn in 2013.
Both Akshay and Arjun are avid art collectors, and as a result have been interacting with galleries, curators, museums, and well known Indian collectors. Outliers is an art gallery that is a culmination of all the various interactions and inputs Akshay and Arjun have had on their art collecting journeys.