Winners of the Lalit Kala Akademi’s 59th National Academy Award were announced earlier this month. Among the 15 artists on the list of awardees, 10 are in the 30-50 years age bracket, while five are above 50, which goes to show the multi-generational reach of this honour.

An exhibition, featuring the winning entries and other selected artworks by the National Academy Award winners, is also underway at the 10 galleries located on the premises of Delhi’s Lalit Kala Akademi.

The winners within the 30-50 years age group include Jyotiprakash Sethy (from Bhubaneswar, Odisha), Vivek Kumar (Delhi), Pappu Bardhan (Kolkata), Cherring Negi (Delhi), Debashish Dutta (Vadodara, Gujarat), Indira P. Ghosh (Raipur, Chattisgarh), Vikrant Vishwas Bhise (Mumbai), Shivakumar Kesaramadu (Mysuru, Karnataka), Rabi Narayan Gupta (Khairagarh, Chhattisgarh), and Pradeep Prathap (Kottyam, Kerela).

The five winners who are above the age of 50 are Pankaj Gahlot (Shivganj, Rajasthan), Kumaran K.R. (Angamaly, Kerela), Atin Basak (Kolkata), Amit Dutt (Delhi), and Amit Chakraborty (Kolkata).

At the Delhi exhibition, 172 are on view, ranging from paintings, sculptures, multimedia works, drawings, installation piece and photographs—all selected from over 3,600 entries that were sent to the jury from across the country.

Noni Borjupari, a renowned Indian artist from Assam, was one of the judges, who prepared the shortlist. “I was on the first panel of judges along with other four people. We selected the works individually and based on their merit passed those on to the next set of jury. Looking at the entries, I found that the bar of the artworks is very high at present. We looked at the works without knowing the name of the artists, hence the selection was unbiased. We looked at the compositions and the aesthetic elements present in the various works and made the shortlist,” says Borjupari.

Awards such as these aim to promote the visual arts in a time when artists barely get their due in popular culture. The Lalit Kala Akademi is actively engaged in bringing to the fore works by upcoming artists all over the country.

C.S. Krishna Setty, administrator, Lalit Kala Akademi, says, “The future of art is very bright. Indian artists are doing a variety of works, and the quality of art is also good. According to me, the art in India is going forward. We nowadays see many young artists participating in Indian and international events, and getting greater visibility than before.”

Chherring Negi, one of the recipients of the 59th National Academy Awards, is a printmaker. Negi completed his master’s in graphics from the Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in 2012. He has participated in several reputed art biennales, fairs and exhibitions worldwide, including the International Printmaking Exchange Programme.  “As a recipient of the prestigious National Award, I am very excited for the opportunities that will open up for me,” says Negi, who has been awarded for his woodcut, titled Tomorrow is a Long Time. “With this recognition, a certain confidence has been instilled in me and due to this, I feel encouraged to work at length. I hope to push the boundaries and develop my skills. The National Award will help me take my work forward, and I intend to make the most of the opportunities I will receive due to this recognition.”

Vikrant Bhise, another awardee, has won for Impretion-2, a mixed-media work on paper. According to Bhise, his piece depicts the sensitive nature of inside human beings. His work reflects behavioural patterns. The figures he paints appear to be suffering. Each one is aiming to satisfy their inner desires.

Sculptor Indira Purkayastha Ghosh is another winner. Her work, titled Assembly of Angels, is on display at the Delhi exhibition.  According to Ghosh, “This particular sculpture is a manifestation of my involvement with children. Ants have been used as a metaphor for the future denizens. Each one is endowed with differential abilities, but the education system fails to recognise the same. The result is assembly-line production. The wheel with the handle in the sculpture is a depiction of systemic control driven by ideology.”

The ongoing exhibition also features works by eminent artists, such as Bose Krishnamachari, Manu Parekh, K.S. Radhakrishnan, Adwaita Gadanayak, Jyoti Bhatt,  L.N. Tallur and N. Pushpamala.

The show is on view at Delhi’s Lalit Kala Akademi till 10 February


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