Rs.1 mn prize for Indian contemporary art, courtesy Skoda

August 17th, 2010 - 6:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) Art and automobile tied a happy knot when Skoda Auto India, the manufacturer of models like Fabia, Laura and Octavia, here Tuesday announced a Rs.1 million prize for the best collection of Indian contemporary art by a single artist in the country.
The prize will recognise upcoming talent among the country’s young artists.

Announcing the prize, Martin Kuehl, a director at Skoda Auto, said that after 10 years of existence in the Indian auto market, “the company wanted to give back something to the Indian society”.

The prize will be awarded Jan 31, 2011 to an artist below 45 years of age with an outstanding body of recognised works. A five-member jury will judge the entries.

“The prize is not a business project, but rather a social responsibility project. The response to art is phenomenal in India. But contemporary Indian artists, who are being recognised abroad, are not being recognised in the country,” Kuehl said.

“Contemporary art, like automotives, is one of the determining factors of a growing economy. Since we have a platform, we decided to use it to support young artists. Art is a way to reach out to the masses - and we are trying to identify with the mass segment,” he added.

The company will enter the mass segment with two new affordable automobile models - an entry level limousine and a mass Fabia model priced around Rs.3 lakh and Rs.5 lakh, respectively, for B and C segments of auto-buyers.

The Skoda prize is being supported by a Mumbai-based firm, Seventy Event Management Group, the British Council, Art India, the leading art magazine and the country chapter of the British accountancy firm Grant Thornton India.

Of the five-member jury, three Indian members were announced Tuesday. The panel will be chaired by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Mumbai-based historian, writer, curator and culture activist.

The other two members are Kavita Singh, an associate professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, and Rajshree Pathy, an art connoisseur.

Two more jury members will be inducted in November, said Martin Da Costa, CEO of Seventy Event Management Group.

The company will work with the galleries to identify “potential winners”.

The long-list of six will be narrowed down to three from which the winner will be selected, a spokesperson for the company said. An artist, who will qualify for the prize, will require to have hosted a solo show between May 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

The jury will be helped by an expert advisory committee.

“One of the reasons for the prize is the resurgence in the art market and the need to further the intellectual balance to determine the value of an art work,” Zakariah said.

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