Forbes India launched the first edition of its art awards on January 31 in New Delhi. Outlining the USP of the Forbes India Art Awards (FIAA), R Jagannathan, editor-in-chief, Forbes India, said, “While there other awards that acknowledge artistic and aesthetic achievement, FIAA is India’s first award that acknowledges the contribution of all stakeholders in the art value chain. This includes galleries, curators, writers, collectors, corporates, non-profit initiatives and, of course, the artists themselves.”
FIAA recognised the most outstanding efforts across 14 categories, including all types of art, such as painting, sculpture, mixed media, video, photography and performance art from across the country. The key objective of FIAA is to create a platform for interaction between India’s corporate world and the art community, apart from creating greater awareness among the public.
The FIAA began with the mapping of the Indian art landscape. This was done by an advisory council comprising Neha Kirpal, founder of India Art Fair, Dinesh Vazirani, CEO, Saffronart and Suresh Venkat, consulting project editor, Forbes India. In order to create a robust and transparent award, Forbes India then engaged audit firm KPMG, who monitored the process at every stage. FSCA, a leading art consulting firm headed by Farah Siddiqui, was entrusted with the task of researching, verifying and compiling data on all nominees across 14 categories. Bangalore-based Studio ABD was commissioned to design a trophy that reflected the spirit of the awards. And the Leela Palace, New Delhi, was chosen as venue partner, because of the Leela Group’s enduring commitment to the cause of art.
The jury included:
1. Lekha Poddar (Jury Chairperson): Chairperson of Devi Art Foundation, she is also one of India’s most prominent collectors
2. Kiran Nadar: Collector; founder and chairperson, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art
3. Shivinder Mohan Singh: Executive vice chairman, Fortis Healthcare
4. Ranjit Hoskote: Independent cultural theorist, art writer and critic
Winners of the FIAA 2014 are:
Young Collector of the Year: Anurag Khanna; for his commitment and risk-taking ability in collecting different types of art, including video art.
Contemporary Gallery of the Year: Experimenter, Kolkata; for their work in highlighting experimental and alternative artists from South Asia.
Gallery of the Year: Talwar Gallery, New Delhi; for their ideological and visual spectra, expressed through the gallery’s exhibitions in 2013, which have been well received by the international media and major museums worldwide.
Not-for-Profit Art Initiative of the Year: Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA); for their work in encouraging, promoting and supporting innovative work in the field of visual arts.
Corporate Commitment of the Year: GVK; for converting the 4,39,000 square metres of space at Terminal 2 of the Mumbai International Airport into a large installation of art works.
Auction of the Year: Christie’s first auction in India on December 19, 2013, Mumbai.
Emerging Curator of the Year: Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma, founding directors and curators at The Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, a not-for-profit space that opened in 2010. The jury also made a special mention of the contribution of curator Shanay Jhaveri.
Exhibition of Indian Art Curated on an International Stage: Ram Rahman and Jessica Moss; for ‘The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989’.
Emerging Art Writer of the Year: Jyoti Dhar. An independent art writer and curator based in Delhi, she is the contributing editor for ArtAsiaPacific and Harper’s Bazaar Art.
Solo Show Debut of the Year: Sahej Rahal for his show ‘Forerunner’ at Chatterjee and Lal, Mumbai. The jury also made special mention of the work of Hajra Waheed for ‘Sea Change’ at Experimenter, Kolkata.
Contemporary Artist of the year (Senior): The joint winners of this category were the Late Nasreen Mohamadi and Dr Krishna Reddy, for their lifetime body of work.
Contemporary Artist of the year (Mid Career): Subodh Gupta. Gupta’s works are littered with references to past and present experiences. His constructions weave highly eccentric imaginings with public myths and rituals. Drawing mainly from everyday objects and scenarios, his aesthetic delineates the complex inter-relations of India’s urban and rural communities.
Contemporary Artist of the year (Junior): Rohini Devasher. Her artistic practice explores the interface between the underlying laws and processes that govern growth and form in biological and physical systems and their mirroring in the digital domain.
Art Entrepreneur of the Year: Neha Kirpal, for India Art Fair. She has been instrumental in steering the fair’s unprecedented growth over six years into becoming the premier destination for art in the region.
Art Initiative of the Year: Google Art Project. It is an online platform through which the public can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in the initiative’s partner museum.
Special Commendation for Outstanding Contribution to the Cause of Art: Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Khomu, for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Acknowledging the lack of an international platform for contemporary art in India, Bose and Komu proposed and executed the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (a large-scale international exhibition) in Kochi, on the lines of the Venice Biennale.
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