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‘Indian’ touch to UK art

London, Dec. 22: Anish Kapoor, 51, who is probably Britain’s most successful sculptor, has been appointed a trustee of the Tate Gallery by the British Prime Minister, it was confirmed today in London.

The appointment brings Kapoor, whose works have been exhibited all over the world (but not in India), into the higher reaches of the arts establishment in Britain.

Kapoor said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be a trustee of Tate. I look forward to working with the other trustees in the hope that I can further the cause of art.”

According to the Tate announcement, “the board of trustees of the Tate Gallery was established by the Museums and Galleries Act, 1992 as the governing body of Tate. The board consists of twelve members, three of whom are practising artists and one of whom is a National Gallery Trustee. Board members are appointed by the Prime Minister and the chairman of the board is appointed by the trustees from amongst themselves.”

The statement said: “Appointments to the board are for four years and trustees are eligible for one further re-appointment after that time; current policy is for artist trustees only to serve for one term.”

A spokeswoman for the Tate said that the trustees are responsible for all four Tates, namely “Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives”.

It was pointed out that “many of these have been internationally recognised artists, including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Victor Pasmore and Anthony Caro. Their contribution to the development of Tate has been inestimable.”

As of the trustees, Kapoor will have a say over purchasing policy but he cannot fill the galleries with either his own or his friends’ works. There is a register to ensure there is no conflict.

Born in what was Bombay in 1954 to a Hindu Punjabi father and an Iraqi Jewish mother, Kapoor has had a complicated relationship with India.

He acknowledges he is of Indian origin but he has always gone out of his way to stress he is an artist, not an Indian artist or even a British Asian artist.

The Tate said today: “After studying at Hornsey College of Art and then the Chelsea School of Art, he went on to teach at Wolverhampton Polytechnic. His first solo exhibition was in Paris in 1980, and from that point he rapidly gained an international reputation, with a succession of one-man shows held annually throughout the world.

“He has represented Britain at the Paris and Venice Biennales, and won the Turner Prize in 1991. Examples of his work are seen in many public and private collections. He served on the board of Arts Council England from 1998 to 2002, and was elected Royal Academician in 1999. He lives and works in London.”

Kapoor betrayed his Indian origins in his earlier works by experimenting with rich, vivid, earthen-coloured pigments.

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