New grant for lens-based practitioners in South Asia to strengthen Indo-French relations

New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) In a quest to strengthen Indo-French relations through cultural exchange, Serendipity Arts Foundation and Les Rencontres d’Arles (an annual summer photography festival in France) have announced the largest ever photography, video and new media grant worth Rs 12 lakh.

The Serendipity Arles Grant, supported by the Embassy of France in India, is aimed at promoting cultural practices in South Asia, the Serendipity Arts Foundation said in a statement.

'It will support lens-based practitioners from South Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The initiative seeks not only to empower artists from the region, but also further a spirit of regional cooperation and representation,' they said.

The open call for entries had begun from April 20 and will continue till July 7.

'The foundation has supported the arts and artists of South Asia through residency programmes and grants. The collaboration with Rencontres d’Arles will strengthen our resolve to back and support artists from the region and help promote their work on a global platform,' Sunil Kant Munjal, Founder Patron, Serendipity Arts Foundation, said.

The largest of its kind, the grant will be awarded in two stages.

Upon receipt of applications for the grant within this deadline, a distinguished jury comprising artists, authors, and eminent personalities from diverse artistic domains will review the proposals and shortlist 10 artists, who will each receive a grant of Rs 70,000, alongside an opportunity to showcase their work at the upcoming edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival, scheduled to take place later in the year in Goa.

Finally, at the festival the same jury will unanimously declare the finalist, who would then receive a grant of Rs 12 lakh to develop the project and show the final presentation at Rencontres d'Arles, France, in 2022.

'Today our festival would like to acknowledge that India and the South Asia region have become a breeding ground of creation. Each year, 10 young photographers and a winner will be selected, funded and their work exhibited, strengthening the ties between our countries and, especially, shining a spotlight on the artists,' Sam Stourdzé, Director, Rencontres d’Arles, said.

Welcoming the grant, Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, said the grant will be a 'powerful testament to the vitality of Indo-French cultural relations.' 'Art and culture are at the core of the relationship between India and France. In these difficult times, I applaud these two key contributors for enriching the cultural landscapes of their respective countries through this long term collaboration.

'The Serendipity Arles Grant will make it possible to exhibit the works of one young artist of the region every year at the Rencontres d'Arles, a foremost photo festival of international repute,' he said. PTI TRS MAH MAH