Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant 2019 | Sneha Ragavan

Meera Mukherjee, 1978, Kasauli.jpg

The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) is pleased to announce that the Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant 2019 has been granted to researcher Sneha Ragavan for her proposed research project Sculpting a World of One’s Own: Five Women Artists from India. The research project aims to study the work and lives of five 'women sculptors' from India - Leela Mukherjee, Piloo Pochkhanwala, Meera Mukherjee, Latika Katt, and Mrinalini Mukherjee.

The jury for the grant consisted of Latika Gupta, art historian; Prof. R Sivakumar, Dept. of Art History, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan; Vidya Shivadas, Director of FICA; and Yashodhara Dalmia, art historian.

Of the several excellent applications received this year, and after much deliberation, the jury decided on Sneha Ragavan's proposed project.
Sneha proposes a research methodology that combines a study of materiality, larger socio-political and personal contexts viewed through a feminist lens, as well as the methods of making and aesthetic choices made by these five artists that could throw light on feminist subjectivities, and how these have been (under-)represented in art histories. The jury felt that Sneha's proposal demonstrated knowledge of existing literature in the field and a clear work plan that includes the ability to access hitherto unstudied archives.

Contrary to conventional belief/understanding of sculpture as a predominantly a male domain, Sneha posits that these women artists chose to work in this very medium from multiple spatio-temporal locations and contexts, across diverse mediums, techniques, and concerns. The project aims to investigate the historical conditions under which female subjectivity is differently represented and articulated by these practitioners, through exploring the material histories and the role of artistic research in their practices. Additionally, the project also seeks to chart out discursive milieus and networks that these artists produced and were part of, and situate their practices within emergent feminist art histories of the region.

About the Recipient:

Sneha Ragavan is Senior Researcher and Projects Lead for Asia Art Archive in India, based in New Delhi. Having joined AAA in 2012, she presently conceptualises and leads it’s research initiatives on modern and contemporary art; has led projects digitising artist archives; creating digital bibliographies of art across multiple languages; co-editing a three-volume publication on 20th century art writing from the region; and co-organising with colleagues, seminars and workshops around archiving and art history. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, for her work on the discourse of the national modern in 20th century architecture in India, and has a Masters in Art History and Aesthetics from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, Baroda.

Image caption: Meera Mukherjee at the Kasauli Art Centre Workshop (1978) | Image credit: Vivan Sundaram
Courtesy of Vivan Sundaram and Asia Art Archive