ILA DALMIA FICA RESEARCH GRANT
The Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant, instituted by FICA, with the support of art historian and curator Yashodhara Dalmia in the memory of her sister Ila Dalmia, aims to encourage research in the field of Indian modern and contemporary art. The grant amount of Rs. 2 lakh will support a research project for one year. The grantee will also be given the opportunity to make a small presentation on the project at a public forum along with the scholar delivering the annual Ila Dalmia Memorial Lecture.
The application is open to individuals who are committed to researching in the field of visual arts with particular focus on Indian modern and contemporary art. This could include important first-hand research and archiving of art and art historical material, or a critical study of Indian art history, art criticism and practice, or an interdisciplinary analysis of the theory and practice in the visual arts, or studies in the related domains of curation, exhibitions, collection and the art economy.
Ila Dalmia (1944-2003) was a passionate writer in Hindi and English prose and poetry and her interest extended to art, music and theatre. Her home in Delhi which she shared with her partner S.H. Vatsyayan, the legendary Hindi writer, popularly known as 'Ajneya' , was to become a hub for literary and artistic activities. In addition, the critical magazine for arts and literature Naya Pratik was started by her and Vatsyayan and was highly regarded for its new and experimental writing. Apart from several essays and articles, she had written a biographical novel Chat par Aparna and a volume of her collected works titled Ila was published shortly after her demise. She was also a generous patron of the arts and supported many young artists and writers. Ila died prematurely due to a critical illness but will be remembered by her friends and supporters as one of the most compassionate and inspirational cultural personalities of her time.
The research award which commemorates her generous support for the arts has been established with a donation by her sister, Yashodhara Dalmia, an art historian and independent curator based in New Delhi. Yashodhara Dalmia has written widely on art and her book Amrita Sher-Gil – A Life (Penguin/Viking, 2006) is a comprehensive account of the life and work of one of India’s first modern artists. She is the author of seminal books like The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives (2001), of Memory, Metaphor, Mutations: Contemporary Art of India and Pakistan with Salima Hashmi (2007) and Journeys: Four Generations of Indian Artists (2011). She curated the inaugural exhibition at the NGMA (Mumbai) in 1996 titled The Moderns, which featured 200 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings by the Progressive Artists. Her other curated shows include Souza in London, Volte-Face: Souza’s Iconoclastic Vision, Indian (Sub)Way and Tyeb Mehta: Triumph of Vision.