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CIMA Gallary

CIMA awards for new talent

- Turner model but open to all who fulfil criteria

CIMA Gallery has instituted an award to spot budding talent all over the country, in the cities and way beyond, in its bid to encourage practice that is not generated under market pressure.

Announcing the annual award on Monday, Rakhi Sarkar, director, CIMA Gallery, said it was similar to the Turner award of the UK, but whereas the latter is “all about the top, the CIMA award is open to everyone who fulfils the criteria. Even housewives are welcome to send their entries.”

It will have a two-tier jury: a preliminary jury for shortlisting, followed by a final jury for ultimate selection of awardees.

The awards come in the form of participation in a series of exhibitions to be organised by CIMA in other galleries and public spaces all over the city, including cafeterias, malls, old buildings and parks, and cash prizes as well.

The three awards are meant for artists between the ages of 25 and 45, both formally trained ones as well as autodidacts. The main CIMA awardee will win a cheque for Rs 5 lakh, and the two jury awards are worth Rs 2 lakh each.

The exhibition, which will continue for two weeks, will begin in the middle of March next year, and now preliminary application forms are being sent to institutions both big and small all over India for the awards aim at bringing an end to elitism. Apart from the conventional fields of painting, sculpture and photography, new media works (video, installation, graphic novel and performance) are also welcome.

Rakhi Sarkar stressed that it will be a “transparent system” and the members of jury are individuals known for their excellence in various fields of visual arts and are from other disciplines as well such as literature, music, and cinema. It will take a few years to fine tune the project for it involves the whole country and is meant only for Indian residents. “We hope to get a good response. We hope to discover new artists. We reckoned that there is a lot of talent in mofussil towns,” said Sarkar, and this was untapped.

The advisory body includes artists Jogen Chowdhury, Partha Pratim Deb, Pankaj Panwar and Shreyasi Chatterjee, filmmakers Mainak Bhaumik and Suman Mukhopadhyay, and Swapan Chakravorty of Jadavpur University.

Partha Pratim Deb said at one time art movements were born in Calcutta. But now each state has its own art colleges so good artists emerge from all over the country.

This award, he hoped, would create a platform for exhibiting “multidimensional” work. It will encourage artists to show such work as well.

Pratiti Basu Sarkar, chief administrator of CIMA Gallery, hoped the exhibitions will give a boost both to the city’s image and its art scene.