Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Grant for Photography 2017

Instituted by the Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation




The application form can be downloaded from

Deadline for submissions: 10 December, 2016


JURY 2017
Florian Ebner (Jury Chair)

Ravi Agarwal

Vivan Sundaram


The Jury Chair is supported by Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan


Recognizing the need to enable Indian photographers to produce and share their work in their lifetime, the Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation has pledged an annual photography grant of INR 5,00,000 in Umrao Singh Sher-Gil’s name to encourage independent voices in photography.


Umrao Singh Sher-Gil’s (1870-1954) relationship with photography in his lifetime was a private affair — his principal subjects being his family and himself. He tended to be overshadowed by the emblematic presence of his daughter and artist, Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941). It was in 2007 that Umrao Singh was recognised as a photographer of considerable importance. His self-portraits span almost sixty years and make up a unique archive. He is now regarded as a pioneering figure of the mise-en-scène or staged photography in India.


Established in 2015, the Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Grant for Photography will recognise a photographer’s commitment to the ‘staged’ or ‘constructed’ image. Documentary photography projects using the idiom of the staged or constructed image will also be considered. 


There is a distinction, albeit a fine one, between the ‘staged’ and the ‘constructed’ image. Regardless, both genres reflect on the transformative nature of the photograph in their relationship to reality.


The grant is intended to assist photographers who have started a project and need financial help to complete their work.



  • The grant is for photographers who are Indian nationals and residing in India.
  • There is no age limit for applicants to the grant.
  • The grant is for both individual photographers and collaborative projects.
  • The grant is for a photographer already working on a project. Therefore, the application must include photographic prints from the proposed project to complete which a grant is needed. See under Application Process.
  • Applicants to the grant must not hold any other fellowship/grant for the proposed work.
  • There is no limit to the number of times applicants may apply for the grant.
  • The applicant has to agree to finish his/her project within 18 months of receiving the grant.

Jury 2017


Florian Ebner (b. 1970, Regensburg/Germany) has been head of the Photographic Collection at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, since the end of 2012. In 2015 he was curator of the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennial. From 2009 to 2012, he was director of the Museum für Photographie Braunschweig, and in 2008/09, he was in charge of the Photographic Collection at the Berlinische Galerie. Prior to that, he taught photography at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig, in Timm Rautert’s class amongst others. He has produced numerous exhibitions and publications on modernist and contemporary photography.

Ravi Agarwal (b. 1958, New Delhi, India) is a photographer, environmentalist, writer and curator. His earlier work, in the documentary mode, encompassed the themes of ‘work’, ‘labour’ and the ‘street’. His practice now also includes performance photography, video/photo installations and public art, and explores questions of urbanization, ecology and society. He has exhibited widely, including at Documenta XI (2002) and the Sharjah Biennial (2013). Ravi Agarwal is also the founder of the Indian environmental NGO, Toxics Link.

Vivan Sundaram (b. 1943, Shimla, India) studied painting in Baroda and London. Since 1990 he has made sculpture, installation, photography and video. He has exhibited in the Biennales of Sydney, Seville, Taipei, Sharjah, Shanghai, Havana, Johannesburg, Kwangju. His international group exhibitions include Tate Modern, London, 2001; International Center for Photography, New York, 2008; Mori Museum, Tokyo, 2008; Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2006. His photographic work includes The Sher-Gil Archive (1994), Re-take of Amrita (2001–02) and Trash (2008).

The Jury Chair was supported by the Goethe-Institut /Max Mueller Bhavan.

The Jury Chair is supported by Goethe – Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

The Application form can be downloaded from
There is no application fee.


The deadline for receipt of the completed application form is December 10, 2016.


Please visit for more details.