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Celebrating contemporary art

Madhur Tankha



Art expert Tasneem Mehta

NEW DELHI: A new art award has been instituted by Skoda Auto India and Seventy Event Management Group to celebrate the country's outstanding contemporary work of art.

“The Skoda Prize” will be an awarded annually. Each artist will be judged on the basis of his/her work produced in the 12 months preceding the award.

Noted art expert Tasneem Mehta, chairperson of the jury, says the award strives to recognise artists under the age of 45 and provides a platform for debate and discussion.

The award will be announced in January and carries a cash prize of Rs.10 lakh. Top 20 short-listed artists will be featured in prize catalogue and art works of the final three artists will be exhibited in the Capital.

An exhibition featuring the works of participating artists will be held in Delhi and Mumbai.

“Applicants can either be well known or young artists who have managed to sustain a body of art work. The quality of art work will be of paramount consideration. The idea behind the artistic impression, material used and form will ultimately decide who will be announced as the winner,” she said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

Ms. Mehta, who is managing trustee and honorary director of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai that has been honoured with the prestigious UNESCO-2005 Asia Pacific award of excellence for cultural conservation, has conceptualised, curated, designed and implemented the restoration and revitalisation of museums.

“We badly need contemporary art museums in our country. We have one or two such museums but they are in a nascent stage. There is need to encourage cutting-edge art and we should not depend on Western curators to determine values in art.”

Jury member Dr. Kavita Singh, who is Associate Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, said artists need support from the State, corporate houses and NGOs. “It makes a healthier art world. We want to bring a range of interesting and challenging works. The space for critical art is shrinking and we urgently need to generate discussion on this issue,” said Dr. Singh, whose publications include “New Insights into Sikh Art” and essays in several international and national journals.

Ms. Rajshree Pathy, founder of an arts initiative “Contemplate”, is the other jury member.

Artists can enter their nominations for ‘The Skoda Prize' based on the guidelines gives on the official website www.theskodaprize.com.

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