FICA Announces Emerging Artist Award 2018 Recipient | Anupam Roy

The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) is delighted to announce that the Emerging Artist Award 2018-19 is being granted to artist Anupam Roy. The FICA Emerging Artist Award, granted annually in collaboration with Pro Helvetia - Swiss Arts Council, seeks to promote young artists who are studying or practising in India, and demonstrate extraordinary skill and promise in the visual arts.  

This year's EAA Jury consisted of artist Manisha Parekh, artist and pedagogue Rakhi Peswani, curator and art historian Latika Gupta, and Iranian-Swiss artist Shirana Shahbazi. After a long morning of discussion and careful deliberation on their shortlist of candidates, they came to the decision of presenting the grant to Anupam Roy.

Over 300 applications were received this year, and after an initial process of shortlisting, they were passed on to the jury members for their perusal. The jury gave unanimous feedback on the strong applications received this year, and the range of practices they encountered which spoke of diverse and deep enquiries. 

They were impressed by Anupam’s politically charged practice which they saw as emerging from his longstanding engagement with grassroots politics. They felt his works shared affinities with some political art practices of the 1970s-80s with its strong Expressionist language, while also speaking to present day political questions and the discourse around art and activism. They appreciated his engagement with vernacular writings and texts, and the strong imagery they saw reflected from working with a multitude of contexts. They also made note of the collaborative nature of his practice and the circulation of his art beyond white cube contexts. They felt the international residency and the subsequent exhibition platform would help Anupam develop his practice and forge further artistic collaborations.
Delhi-based Anupam Roy’s large-scale drawings and paintings speak about systemic violence and injustice. In recent years his practice is increasingly informed by what he terms as 'excess', extending George Bataille's theorisation to considering the 'representational impossibility of the subject'. He engages with the visual, textual and evidentiary, extending a variety of mediums and materials towards the performative and gestural, to achieve a travelling, discursive form that moves beyond the conventional exhibitory spaces, towards more dynamic public engagement.  

Being closely associated with socio-political movements taking place in India today, Anupam emphasises the position of the 'witness' as 'with-ness', that is, the political strategy of the instigator(s), moving from comfortable passivity to active engagement and understanding of the ‘real’. Collective action and work is emphasised in his past works, as he notes the importance of collaboration in creating spaces of resistance. His practice also embraces impossibility and incompleteness as radical tools for engagement and disruption, through the rejection of complete narrative and codified knowledge systems.

As part of the EAA 2018, Roy will receive a ninety-day residency in Switzerland in 2019, supported by Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council, followed by a chance to showcase his work at the FICA Homepage platform amidst other FICA grantees in the subsequent year. FICA is grateful to the support offered by Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in hosting this exhibition platform.

About the artist
Anupam Roy (b. 1985) is an artist based in New Delhi. He received his BFA from Bengal Fine Arts College, West Bengal; and an MA in Visual Arts from School of Cultures and Creative Expression, Ambedkar University Delhi. Anupam's solo exhibitions include Labyrinth: Reflections on 21st Century Politics (2017) at BC Gallery, Fort Kochi, andMigratory Bird at Tagore Hall, University of Delhi and the School of Arts and Aesthetics and SIS Building, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

His recent group exhibitions include Songs for Sabotage, New Museum Triennale (2018) curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Alex Gartenfeld; Imagining Forest (2018), curated by Avani Sethi and V. Divakar at Conflictorium, Ahmedabad; Bevaru / In Sweat and Thought (2018) at Venkatappa Art Gallery in Bangalore; Historical Materialism(2018), curated by Adam Turl, in Montreal, organised by Red Wedge; Sanskritik Sangstha (2012-13) at Halisahar, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal; Art & You (2011) at Sainik Farm, New Delhi; Vibrant Gallery (2011) in Gurgaon; Bengal Art Show (2011) at Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi; Faith & Fantasy II (2010) at Indian Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi; JSM Cinema of Resistance (2009) in Nainital, Uttarakhand.

Image details: Return (2018), Black pigment, red stainer paint and distemper on paper pasted on cotton cloth, 8 x 13 ft. 
Photo by Nikhil KC