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The ŠKODA Prize for Indian Contemporary Art 2011

by Sarmistha Maiti

The ŠKODA Prize for Indian Contemporary Art is one of the most prestigious acclamations in the visual arts category. It is also one of the highest award amount dedicated to the Indian contemporary art precisely recognizing the innovativeness and vision of cutting-edge art that delves with a mature understanding of both material and form. The Prize puts forward before the audience some of the new and exciting trends of contemporary art that focuses the output of artists in their 40s as well as gives opportunities to some new voices and to support them to take a leap in their career. The ŠKODA Prize 2011 selected twenty Indian artists whose works had been showcased and/or curated by different galleries in India and abroad in 2010-11. The works of these twenty artists were put together in the ŠKODA Prize show from January 23  February 6, 2012 at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. The artists were selected from different genres of contemporary and cutting-edge art. And the final shortlist for the Grand Prize of ŠKODA had three names: Jitish Kallat, Navin Thomas and L.N. Tallur.

With solo shows in London, Berlin, Chicago in 2010 Jitish Kallat is one of the most successful contemporary artists in India. His works on the changing space of the city of Mumbai got entry into this show. Navin Thomas hails from Bangalore. He is quite renowned to mix science and art in his creations as well as for his experiments with scarp materials. L.N. Tallur is famous for his kinetic sculptures that combine a sharp wit along with an unusual use of materials. As these were the artists in the final shortlist, there was another category known as “The Breakthrough Artist Award” for the young contemporaries where the nominees included upcoming names such as Srikanth Kolari, Madhuban Mitra & Manas Bhattacharya, Dhruv Malhotra and Prashant Pandey.

The final names of the winners from both the categories were announced on January 28, 2012 at the ŠKODA Prize ceremony in Taj Palace, New Delhi. Marc Quinn, the British artist was the Guest of Honour who announced the name of Navin Thomas to be the winner of the ŠKODA Prize for Indian Contemporary art 2011. Quinn handed over the award amount of 10, 00,000 INR to Thomas. Navin Thomas received the award for his works in the show From the Town's End held at GallerySke in Bangalore. The two Runners-up were awarded residencies in Switzerland, courtesy Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council. The “The Breakthrough Artist Award” from the upcoming artists' category was won by Madhuban Mitra & Manas Bhattacharya. The winner received a cheque of 50,000 INR.

The panel of jury who had a round of discussions and debates to come up to this decision was headed by Kiran Nadar, Chairperson of Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. Other members of the Jury included Pooja Sood, Director of KHOJ International Artists' Association, Vivan Sundaram, a renowned India contemporary artist, Heike Munder, Director and Curator of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich and Martin Clark, Artistic Director of Tate St Ives. Apart from the Jury Panel, there was also an advisory committee headed by renowned art critic, Girish Sahane, who is also an Independent Writer based out of Mumbai. Girish was also the man behind the organization of the whole event on January 28 at the Taj Palace.

The Škoda Prize is Seventy EMG's Arts Initiative. Martin da Costa, CEO, Seventy Event Media Group therefore said, “We were amazed at the success and impact of the ŠKODA Prize last year. But this year we were able to lift the benchmark even higher. We are constantly aiming to strive towards a more holistic target base and recognize talent from all strata of the industry right from debutantes to established artists. The inauguration of 'The Breakthrough Artist Award' and giving ŠKODA Prize long-list a platform to showcase their artworks with the annual exhibition has helped us achieve just that.”


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