The Škoda Prize for Indian Contemporary Art announced the list of the Top Twenty Best Solo Exhibitions held in the country in the last one year. Out of 128 entries received from all across the country, the jury declared the top twenty finalists after much deliberation. The Longlist comprises of 20 contemporary Indian artists at various points of success in their career as well as working in a wide variety of media. It comprises of artists from all across the country; and ranges from artists who have been exhibiting for more than a decade to those who have only just had their debut solo exhibitions. The Škoda Prize Top Twenty 2011 catalogue will showcase the best of Indian contemporary art in the year 2010-2011 and will act as a leveler wherein artists who are yet to be famous will share space with India’s most celebrated artists.
With solo shows in London, Berlin, Chicago in 2010 Jitish Kallat. At the same time 27-year old Prashant Pandey’s debut solo show “Shelf-Life” at Gallery Maskara has found a spot in India’s best twenty. Pandey works with eclectic media: expired chocolate, urine, sweat, sugar, discarded cigarette buds. Navin Thomas who showed at Gallery SKE in Bangalore mixes science and art and 25 year old Dhruv Malhotra who had his debut solo at PhotoInk in New Delhi experiments with photography by shooting at night with long exposure to arrive at surreal landscapes of Noida.
Ashish Avikunthak is the only artist on the list to work solely with film and video, although a number of others use video as part of a cross-media practice. Other celebrated names include L. N. Tallur, Reena Saini Kallat, Arunkumar H. G., RAQS Media Collective, Manjunath Kamath, Vishal Dar, Sujith S. N, and Sumedh Rajendran. Pooja Iranna who was included in the longlist last year is back this year as well, with another solo show in New Delhi. Manish Nai, a young artist who in particularly interested in textures makes his way into the longlist with “Extramural” at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke in Mumbai. Aditi Singh and Paula Sengupta who has solo shows at Chemould Prescott Road in Mumbai are a part of India’s best twenty shows too. Making up the rest of the list are shows by Anjali Srinivasan and Srikanth Kolari and a collaborative photo project by Madhuban Mitra and Manas Bhattacharya.
The jury panel for the award is chaired by one of India’s most prominent philanthropist and art curator Kiran Nadar. Other Jury members include Pooja Sood, Director of KHOJ International Artists’ Association, Vivan Sundaran a renowned India contemporary artist. In addition to the eminent Indian jury members, renowned curator and director of the Migros Museum in Zurich.Heike Munder from Switzerland will be a part of the final judging process.
Apart from the jury panel, there is also an advisory committee headed by renowned art critic, Girish Shahane. An Independent Writer based out of Mumbai, his articles on art, film and cultural politics have been published in leading newspapers and journals in India and abroad. He writes a fortnightly column for Yahoo! India.