History Of The Award

Asia as a continent has always had a rich cultural and artistic legacy, and the global focus on Asian contemporary art is on the rise. Asia Society India Centre and Asia Society Museum instituted the first Asia Arts Awards India for contemporary artists living and working on the continent, to acknowledge and felicitate the work of ground-breaking artists who have brought a deeper understanding of the region to the people of Asia and beyond. These artists have made an indelible mark on the development of modern and contemporary art in the region and deepened our understanding of the world through their artistic practices. For more than thirty years, Asia Society has been a pioneer in identifying and fostering contemporary Asian artists and engaging new audiences with their work.

The inaugural Asia Arts Awards India – a gala benefit dinner took place on February 1, 2017, on the eve of the opening of the India Art Fair at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. Over 150 of the countries most celebrated and eminent personalities from the field of arts and culture including artists, curators, collectors, arts professionals, Asia Society Trustees, and patrons gathered for the special evening to honor Abir KarmakarKrishen Khanna & teamLab. The evening opened with a scintillating conversation between Member of Parliament Dr. Shashi Tharoor and media guru Suhel Seth on the importance of arts and culture as a soft power for an emergent economies. Some of the notable attendees included Kiran NadarBose KrishnamachariSudarshan Shetty,the new director of Tate Galleries Maria Balshaw and the Metropolitan Museum’s Sheena Wagstaff.

2021 Award Ceremony

This year the prestigious award has gone virtual to ensure the safety of its awardees and attendees. This year’s award function co-chairs are Pheroza Godrej, Sangita Jindal & Radhika Chopra. This program is complimentary and open to the global community. Hosted by Rashmi Dhanwani, Founder, The Art-X Company, the evening event of the award will feature special musical performances by award-winning singer and composer Sonam Kalra, creator of the Sufi Gospel Project. Registration closes at 3:00 p.m. India Standard Time on Thursday, June 17, 2021. You can register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/asia-arts-game-changer-awards-india-2021-registration-150374174203

Presenters for the evening include:

  • Hon. Kevin Rudd, President and CEO, Asia Society
  • Michelle Yun-Mapplethorpe, Vice-President of Global Artistic Programs, Director, Asia Society Museum, and Artistic Director, Asia Society Triennial
  • Pheroza Godrej, Co-Chair of Asia Arts Game Changer Awards India 2021 and Board Member of Asia Society India Centre
  • Sangita Jindal, Co-Chair of Asia Arts Game Changer Awards India 2021 and Board Member of Asia Society India Centre
  • Radhika Chopra, Co-Chair of Asia Arts Game Changer Awards India 2021
  • Inakshi Sobti, CEO, Asia Society India Centre


  • Abhishek Poddar, Founder, Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bengaluru
  • Asmaa Al-Shabibi and William Lawrie, Founders, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai
  • Devika Singh, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern, London
  • Diva Gujral, Doctoral Student, History of Art, University College, London
  • Hammad Nasar, Curator, Researcher and Writer
  • Indrapramit Roy, Associate Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara
  • Lucy Gallun, Associate Curator, The Robert B. Menschel Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Mohsin Hamid, Writer
  • Nathaniel Gaskell, Director, MAP Academy, Bengaluru
  • Nilima Sheikh, Artist
  • Nupur Dalmia, Director, Gallery Ark, Vadodara
  • Priyanka and Prateek Raja, Founders, Experimenter, Kolkata
  • Ram Rahman, Photographer, Curator and Writer
  • Rekha Rodwittiya, Artist, Curator, Writer & CEO of The Collective Studio Baroda
  • Sabih Ahmed, Deputy Director, Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai
  • Sameera Raja, Director and Curator, Canvas Gallery, Karachi
  • Sharmini Pereira, Chief Curator, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Sri Lanka
  • Quddus Mirza, Artist, Art Critic and Educator


Photo © WikiArt

Jyoti Bhatt was born in 1934 in Bhavnagar Gujarat, he influenced by his father’s Gandhian philosophy while growing up. He came to Baroda and studied painting from 1950 to 1959 at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University Baroda under N. S. Bendre, K. G. Subramanyan, and Sankho Chaudhuri. He joined his alma mater to teach painting from 1959 to 1992. He received scholarships between 1959 and 1966 to travel to Europe and the United States. In 1962 he became a founding member of Group 1890. He has extensively engaged with printmaking and digital media and is an internationally acclaimed photographer, whose archival material of the living traditions of tribal and rural visual arts is historically significant. Since 1959, Jyoti Bhatt has been a commentator on cultural practices through his essays and articles published in vernacular and English periodicals.

His art has been exhibited internationally, is in public and private collections, and is the subject of six monographs, among other important publications. He is a recipient of national and international awards, including the Padma Shri, the Kalidas Samman, an Honorary Doctorate, and five lifetime achievement awards. Jyoti Bhatt attributes his sustained engagement as an artist to the guidance of his teachers, the support of his friends, the curiosity of students, the journey of parenting, and the love and friendship of his partner ceramist, the late Jyotsna Bhatt. He lives and works in Baroda, and despite fragile health and failing eyesight continues to work every day in his studio.

Photo © Lawrie Shabibi

Hamra Abbas is an interdisciplinary artist known for her diverse practice that ranges from marble-inlay sculptures and miniature silk paintings to color and light installations. Abbas has used Mughal architecture, religious and vernacular iconography, and portraiture to address notions of cultural memory, sexuality, and faith. Her recent works largely focus on the image of a garden and aesthetics of devotion to question the ideals of truth and perfection. After living for many years in Berlin and Boston, her recent move back to Lahore has greatly influenced her work.

She has participated in the inaugural Asia Society Triennial, New York (2020) and Lahore Biennale, Pakistan (2018); 2nd Karachi Biennale, Pakistan (2019); 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2014); Changwon Sculpture Biennale, South Korea (2014); deCordova Biennial, US (2013); Asian Art Biennial, Taiwan (2011); 9th Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2009); 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008); 10th International Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2007); and 15th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2006). Abbas has taken part in group shows at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2017); Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen am Rhein (2014); Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kansas (2013); Singapore Art Museum (2012); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2009); MAXXI, Rome (2016); ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2016); Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou (2011); Asia Society Museum, New York (2009); Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2009); and Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2009).

Photo © Scroll

Sohrab Hura is a photographer and filmmaker. His work lies at the intersection of film, photography, sound, and text. By constantly experimenting with form and using a journal-like approach, many of his works attempt to question a constantly shifting world and his place within it. His work has been exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial (2021); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2021, 2019); Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata (2020); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2020); Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2019); and Cincinnati Art Museum (2019). His films have been widely shown in international film festivals. The Coast (2020) premiered at Berlinale 2021 while Bittersweet (2019) was awarded the Principal Prize of the International Jury at the 66th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2020. The Lost Head & The Bird (2017) had previously won the NRW Award at the 64th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2018.

Hura has self-published five books under the imprint UGLY DOG. His book The Coast (2019) won the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook of the Year Award in 2019. The exhibition Growing Like A Tree (2021) opened in January 2021 at Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai, marking his inaugural curatorial project. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Ishara Art Foundation; Cincinnati Art Museum; and other private and public collections. Hura lives and works in New Delhi, India.

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