Awardees 

The UC Berkeley South Asia Artist Prize for 2022

Saba QizlbashSABA QIZLBASH
Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. MFA 2022

Bio: Saba Qizilbash was born in Lahore and raised in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She has a BFA in Painting from National College of Art, Pakistan and a Master’s degree in Art Education from Rhode Island School of Design, USA. Saba’s work has been showcased in Dubai, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Lahore and Karachi including solo shows at 1x1 Gallery (Dubai), Koel Gallery (Karachi), Cuadro Fine Art Gallery (Dubai), ArtChowk (Karachi), and Rohtas II Gallery (Lahore). She has also exhibited in numerous group shows in locations across the UAE and abroad including at Aicon Gallery in New York. In 2017 Qizilbash was commissioned by UAE Unlimited and her works are now in the collection of HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. The same year she received the Campus Art Dubai Grant. In 2018 Qizilbash was awarded the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Emerging Artists Fellowship (SEAF) in partnership with Rhode Island School of Design. In 2019 she was the recipient of Vogue Hong Kong Woman Artist award. Saba has been a finalist for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize from 2017-2020, a member of Campus Art Dubai from 2014-2016 and was artist-in-residence at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology (Oregon) from 2000-2001. She has also designed a number of community art workshops in Dubai, Lahore, New Delhi and Providence. She is currently pursuing a research based MFA from the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford.

Prize Announcement

Award Ceremony & Lecture: The award ceremony and the artist talk will take place on Wed, Apr 20, 2022 at 9 a.m. PST on Zoom Event. Please  REGISTER HERE


The Prize Committee: Asma Kazmi (Chair, University of California, Berkeley), Al-An deSouza (University of California, Berkeley), Osman Khan (University of Michigan), and Padma Maitland (California Polytechnic State University)

Honorable Mention for 2022

Sayan CHandaSAYAN CHANDA
MA Fine Art - Camberwell College of Art (University of the Arts London), UK

BIO: Sayan Chanda is an artist and textile practitioner from India, currently based in London.

Primal systems, subaltern religiosity and folk iconography from Bengal are at the heart of Sayan’s practice. Totems, talismans, votive offerings, their physicality and purpose which make them sacred yet foreboding, are potent references for him. He is particularly interested in how these objects transcend their material confines and move into a realm of the arcane and enigmatic.​

Indigenous worldview and vernacular knowledge systems are often marginalised and dismissed as archaic and irrelevant. Sayan is often disappointed by the othering of folk and subaltern practices which is not only prevalent in the West but is entrenched in the fabric of the Indian society as well.

Through his work, he interprets the rationale behind such objects, practices and beliefs beyond their apparent esoteric facade. He does this by channelling his personal mythologies, anxieties and memory, using found textiles, ceramics and objects that resonate with him, such as used Kantha quilts from Bengal. Aniconic representation of deities and ritualistic mark-making reflect in his tapestries and other textile-based works. His ceramic pieces are part archaeological, part remnants of a fictional forgotten script, referencing folk iconography. He likes to think that the hybrid objects he makes, though definitive in mass and form, remain suspended at the peculiar juncture of existence and evanescence.


The Prize Committee: Asma Kazmi (Chair, University of California, Berkeley), Al-An deSouza (University of California, Berkeley), Osman Khan (University of Michigan), and Padma Maitland (California Polytechnic State University)

The UC Berkeley South Asia Art & Architecture Dissertation Prize for 2022 (RECIPIENT 1)

Vishal KhandelwalVISHAL KHANDELWAL
Department of History of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 2021

Dissertation Title: Crafting Expertise: Art and Design Pedagogy and Professional Values at the National Institute of Design in India, 1955-1985

Advisor: Claire Zimmerman

Dissertation Abstract: “Crafting Expertise” studies the pedagogy of the National Institute of Design (NID) in India over a thirty-year period. Established in 1961 in the city of Ahmedabad, the NID was the first design school of its kind in independent India. Its pedagogy borrowed from contemporaneous global art and design theories, as well as from the legacy of colonial-era art and design education in the Indian subcontinent. This dissertation argues that contrary to the perception that the NID’s work and professional ethos were primarily configured by state and industrial interests, artists, designers, and their affiliates at the institute explored design as a field reinvigorated by modernization discourse, but that addressed socio-cultural conditions beyond the agendas of postcolonial bureaucracy and industrial capitalism. Each chapter draws on personal and institutional archives to explicate design and art objects, pedagogical assignments, representations of art and design in the mass media, and debates on professional values that embroiled artists, designers, craftspeople, and critics. Collectively, the chapters reconstruct the experimental NID pedagogy (Chapter 1), assess its application in photography-based projects during the 1960s and 70s (Chapter 2), analyze ideological debates on design and art from the 1970s and 80s (Chapter 3), and explore the application of the revised and reformulated NID pedagogy via textile arts and crafts through the 1980s (Chapter 4). The dissertation shows how designers, artists, intellectuals, bureaucrats, industrialists, and craftspeople, all affiliated with the NID in one way or another, addressed the needs and problems of postcolonial industry, art and design education, urbanism, consumer culture, the market, and village economies in ways that tested the authority of the modern designer. They merged ideas about art, crafts, and design, and gave equal relevance to theorization as they did to practice. Their work highlights the changing terrain of design education between aesthetic priorities and socio-economic developmentalism, and the contradictory positions on professional values that emerged from the exchanges between internationally resonant art and design pedagogies and the needs and goals of India’s postcolonial present.

Prize Announcement

Award Ceremony & Lecture: The award ceremony and the talk will take place on Thu, Apr 21, 2022 at 9 a.m. PST on Zoom Event. Please  REGISTER HERE


The Prize Committee:  Atreyee Gupta (Chair, University of California, Berkeley), Susan Bean (Independent Scholar + Curator), Monica Juneja (Universität Heidelberg), and Jinah Kim (Harvard University).

The UC Berkeley South Asia Art & Architecture Dissertation Prize for 2022
(RECIPIENT 2)

Sonali DhingraSONALI DHINGRA
Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University. 2021

Dissertation Title: Cult and Colossus: Buddhist Sculpture from Odisha in History and Memory (ca. eighth to twelfth centuries)

Advisor: Jinah Kim

Dissertation Abstract: A careful analysis of the role of scale has scarcely found a place in South Asian art-historical writings, which are primarily concerned with iconography, eliding questions of materiality or context. This dissertation examines an overlooked corpus of colossal stone Buddhist sculptures that belong to Odisha (on India’s eastern coast). The ubiquity of large-scale sculptural carving at Buddhist sites in Odisha between the eighth and twelfth centuries compels us to consider when, how, and why a propensity for monumentality in stone carving at Buddhist establishments developed in this region.  Studying this corpus of sculptures from material, phenomenological and archaeological perspectives sheds light on the ontological valence of cultic sculptures in South Asian Buddhist contexts.

This dissertation makes four contributions: 1) Theorizes the significance of scale in making and viewing the sculpted devotional image in South Asia, more broadly. 2) Clarifies the chronology and physical context of Buddhist cultic sculpture from Odisha. 3) Emphasizes the innovative role of unnamed artists and image-designers in making sculpture efficacious via material strategies such as monumentality and spatial depth. 4) Demonstrates that the medieval Indian Buddhist imagination apprehended Buddhist cultic icons, such as those of Bodhisattva Amoghapāśa (lit. ‘one who holds an unfailing noose), as “things,” animate and empowered mediators in worldly matters—active through their over-human scale, placement, style, iconography, and ritual consecration. The epilogue highlights how the phenomenological aspects of Buddhist sculptures participated and continue to participate in forging cultural memory and imagination of the past in Odisha.

Prize Announcement

Award Ceremony & Lecture: The award ceremony and the talk will take place on Thu, Apr 21, 2022 at 9 a.m. PST on Zoom Event. Please  REGISTER HERE


The Prize Committee:  Atreyee Gupta (Chair, University of California, Berkeley), Susan Bean (Independent Scholar + Curator), Monica Juneja (Universität Heidelberg), with Jinah Kim (Harvard University) recused.


The UC Berkeley South Asia Artist Prize for 2021

maryam hina hasnainMARYAM HINA HASNAIN
MA Fine Art (Chelsea College of Art, UAL, London, 2020)

Bio: Maryam Hina Hasnain was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. She moved to Kuala Lumpur and later to London to study Fine Art. She holds a BA Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London and an MA Distinction in Fine Art from Chelsea College, University of Arts London. Her practice is underpinned by an interest in trade, empire, migration, borders and citizenship. These themes are explored through a variety of mediums; paintings, soundscapes, installations and textile interventions.

Award Ceremony & Lecture:

Prize Announcement


The Prize Committee: Asma Kazmi (Chair, University of California, Berkeley), Allan deSouza (University of California, Berkeley), Osman Khan (University of Michigan), Padma Maitland (California Polytechnic State University)

The UC Berkeley South Asia Art & Architecture Dissertation Prize for 2021

aparna kumarAPARNA KUMAR
University of California, Los Angeles, 2018

Dissertation Title: Partition and the Historiography of Art in South Asia

Advisor: Saloni Mathur

Dissertation Abstract: This dissertation investigates the impact of the partition of 1947 on art, art institutions, and aesthetic discourse in India and Pakistan in the twentieth century. A study of art, museums, mobility, and historiography, challenges prevailing national frameworks within the field of South Asian art history that have suppressed the violent and traumatic legacy of the partition for global histories of modernism.

Award Ceremony & Lecture:

A summary of Dr. Kumar's talk with slides

Prize Announcement


The Prize Committee:  Atreyee Gupta (Chair, University of California, Berkeley), Navina Najat Haidar (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Monica Juneja (Universität Heidelberg), Tamara Sears (Rutgers University)

Honorable Mention for 2021

AURORA GRALDI

AURORA GRALDI
University of Vienna, 2019

Dissertation TitleTransforming the Buddha: A Biography of the Monumental Buddha of Guita Bahī, Lalitpur, and its Implication for the Nepalese School of Sculpture in Metal

Advisors: Deborah-Klimburg-Salter, Martin Gaenszle

Dissertation Abstract: The just under 2-meter-high Buddha of Guita Bahī is the largest surviving in situ metal Buddha image that has yet been discovered in South Asia and the Himalayas. This dissertation traces a biography of this Buddha image—from the time of its casting around the 9th-10th century CE up to its present condition—and explains how its visual appearance was transformed throughout its history and eventually became “Buddha Dīpaṅkara.”

Prize Announcement


The Prize Committee: Atreyee Gupta (Chair, University of California, Berkeley), Navina Najat Haidar (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Monica Juneja (Universität Heidelberg), Tamara Sears (Rutgers University)