Sudarshan Shetty wins coveted ‘Artist of the Year’ award

KMB 2016 curator was honoured for his diverse artistic expression at India Today Art Awards

Kochi, Feb 06: Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2016 curator Sudarshan Shetty was recognised as the ‘Artist of the Year’ for the breadth and boldness of his artistic expression at the second edition of the India Today Art Awards held in Delhi on Sunday evening.

Shetty received the award at a glittering ceremony that saw a who’s-who of India’s art scene – artists, aficionados, curators and collectors – assemble at The Leela Palace hotel in the national capital to celebrate the field’s trailblazers, visionaries, innovators and influencers.

The award honoured both his efforts to bring together 97 artists from 31 countries to produce over 100 works of art across styles, forms and disciplines at the Biennale to the celebrated multi-dimensional, multi-medium art practice that has made him one of the biggest names in the contemporary art world.

Noting that it was a “privilege to be among the many who are equally deserving of this award”, Shetty said, “When I look back at where I come from, I owe this to a long line of people who have been instrumental in shaping the ways in which I look at the world through my work: from the great line of nirgun poets like Goraknath and Kabir or the great Indian modernists – all from whom I have borrowed in various ways.”

Echoing an aspect of his curatorial vision for the Biennale – “what it means to be contemporary and at the same time, to be together in time”, Shetty said, “It’s important to look back to be able to look forward. To be able to understand who we are, it’s important to understand who we were. As one gazes back in time, is it possible to be drawn in and propelled forward by a force sometimes referred to as tradition? Or can we look at tradition as a cascade that erupts in the midst of the present with flashes of the future?”

Awards in the categories of lifetime achievement, street art, new media art, emerging curators and collectors, among others, were handed out at the event. The judging criteria included originality of concept, socio-political engagement, aesthetic value and mastery over medium.

Joining Shetty on the honour roll was KMB 2016 artist Himmat Shah, who received the award for best solo exhibition of the year. Shah, who works in a range of mediums including sculpture, drawing and print making, is best known for his terracotta, ceramic, plaster of Paris, gold leaf and large bronze busts. Around 20 of these sculptures – selected from nearly four decades of work (1980-2016), are exhibited at the Biennale


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