ORA 2020: In a League of their Own
ORA 2020 saw some of the most spectacular works currently shaping the contemporary art scene. In the professional category, while almost all the works that made it to the top 10, were exemplary in their own right, four of them stood apart for their originality and their breath-taking interpretation of the life that inspired them.
With the pandemic altering opportunities and platforms, Mojarto truly has come into its own – stepping up to reform the space of art and leading the country’s digital art scene. In tandem with this was ORA 2020 – India’s biggest online art contest. With over 1000 entries, including artists of all ages and experience, ORA 2020 saw some of the most spectacular works currently shaping the contemporary art scene. With the hope of sharing this new artistic space with the larger art community, ORA was conducted in partnership with Art Houz in Chennai and Bengaluru, Kolkata Centre for Creativity and Kalakriti Art Gallery in Hyderabad – also the institutions where the works of all the finalists will be exhibited in the coming year. But for now, we give you a quick peek into the works that bagged the top prizes in the professional category.
All the works this year were judged by a panel that comes from a highly specialised and celebrated background. Latika Katt, a sculptor and an educator, was first noticed by Indira Gandhi. More recently, she won the Beijing Art Biennale Award for her bronze work. Mitchell S. Crites has, over the years, coordinated a number of prestigious art and architectural projects, all the while empowering over 8,000 artists, carvers, inlay artisans and calligraphers. Bikaner House’s curatorial Director and the founder of Artinsights Priya Pall also joined the panel along with Brinda Miller, Director of ABM Architects and the Executive Committee member of the Kala Ghoda Association. Arpana Caur, one of the most celebrated women artists in the country, brought her wealth of experience as an artist, activist and an educator, to the panel which was tied together with Rm. Palaniappan, celebrated printmaker and the former Regional Secretary of Lalit Kala Akademi.
The professional category honoured works and artists that have been active in the art sphere and have been exhibiting for a considerable time – artists who have built up a strong portfolio. In this category, while almost all the works that made it to the top 10, were exemplary in their own right, four of them stood apart for their originality and their breath-taking interpretation of the life that inspired them. The third position was shared by artists Veenita Chendvankar and Mrinal Kanti Gayen. Where Mrinal, an art professor and a winner of the National Award presented by Lalit Kala Akademi, forayed through childhood memories and the far reaches of imagination in a bronze sculpture; Veenita, who won an award at The All India Annual Art Exhibition at the age of 28, explored the idea of ‘self’ and the many connections we share with nature through flights of whimsy. In second place, Chennai-based artist Murali Chinnasamy, with just pen and ink, went inwards and sought the confluence of nature and inner thoughts. And Santhosh Andrade, the winner of ORA 2020’s big cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh, depicted his hometown and the changes it has suffered in the last few years. His detailed painting takes the viewer from one scene to another in a small space and induces a plethora of senses.
As artist Arpana Caur rightly noted – at the first-ever ORA Award ceremony that, thanks to the pandemic was only live streamed – the visual and performance art spaces have been disrupted as people are unable to attend and support them. Online judging and competitions are new tangents that have forced us to review and reflect on our existing habits. Viewing, showcasing and curating is altering, and Mojarto, with ORA have done more than their fair share in supporting the artists in their own unique way. And if ORA 2020 is anything to go by, we can be sure that the best is yet to come!