Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Grant for Photography 2018

Instituted by the Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation




The application form can be downloaded from

Deadline for submissions: 5 December, 2017


JURY 2018
Sabeena Gadihoke

Sanjeev Saith

Yasufumi Nakamori (Jury Chair)


The Jury Chair is supported by Japan Foundation, New Delhi


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 Indian nationals who reside in India.
  • There is no age limit for applicants to the grant.
  • Individual photographers and collaborative projects can apply.
  • The grant is for a photographer already working on a project.
    Therefore, the application must include photographic prints from the project for which financial support is needed.
  • Applicants must not hold any other fellowship/grant for the proposed project when applying.
  • Applicants must confirm in writing the proposed project has not been exhibited in any commercial gallery or by a commercial gallery in India or abroad. Projects which have been exhibited will not be considered. Exposure of works from the proposed project across social media platforms is acceptable.



The members of the jury for the 2018 Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Grant for Photography are:

Sabeena Gadihoke, Sanjeev Saith and Yasufumi Nakamori (Jury Chair).

Sabeena Gadihoke is a professor in Video and TV Production and started to teach at the AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia in 1990. She has been an independent documentary filmmaker and cameraperson with over twenty years of experience. Her film Three Women and a Camera won awards at the Film South Asia at Kathmandu (1999) and at the Mumbai International Film Festival (2000) and she has shot numerous documentaries as a camerawoman including the much circulated Tales of the Night Fairies (Shohini Ghosh, 2002).


Gadihoke is also a photo historian and curator. She has written extensively on Indian photography and is the author of Camera Chronicles of Homai Vyarawalla (Mapin/Parzor Foundation, 2006, 2010). She has published in national and international journals and books and her more recent publications focus on documentary studies, female stardom and photo history. She has delivered talks and presented papers at many international art colleges and universities. Gadihoke’s curatorial projects include, Light Works, a retrospective of photographs by Jitendra Arya at National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai (2017), Inner and Outer Worlds: The Many Lives of Homai Vyarawalla at Sridharani Art Gallery (2015) and at National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai (2015). She curated a retrospective exhibition on Homai Vyarawalla at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore during 2010-11 and co-curated an exhibition on photographer Kulwant Roy at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi (2008).

Sanjeev Saith has been associated with photography for the past 40 years, initially as an active photographer till 2002, and thereafter as an editor of books, monographs and exhibitions. His publications as Editor/Photo-Editor include Ronny Sen’s End of Time (Nazar, 2017), Amit Pasricha’s India at Home (Panoramic, 2016), Kanu Gandhi’s Kanu’s Gandhi (Nazar, 2015), Arvind Hoon’s Unsettled Waters (Face North, 2014), Adil Hasan’s When Abba Was Ill (Nazar, 2014), Vicky Roy’s Home Street Home (Nazar, 2013), Mahesh Nair’s Iron Fist, Velvet Glove (Cinnamon Teal, 2011), Prashant Panjiar’s Pan India (Tasveer, 2009), Prashant Panjiar’s King, Commoner, Citizen (India Picture, 2007), and Sonia Gandhi’s Rajiv (Penguin Viking, 1992).


Sanjeev began taking pictures while studying at St Stephen’s College and Delhi School of Economics where he gained a Master’s degree, his interest in photography emerging from his passion for climbing in the Himalayas. As a cameraman on the Indian Everest Expedition in 1984 he shot the documentary film which received the National Award. A hobby grew into a profession and he began to freelance in travel, development and documentary photography, though it was the Indian street that occupied his evolving idiom. His personal work was collected by the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Art Heritage, New Delhi among others. He has also exhibited at the Asian Arts Museum, San Francisco, the Photographers’ Gallery, London, and the Theatre Saint Gervais, Geneva. He has lectured and conducted workshops at many institutions across India, most notably at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Indian Administration, Mussoorie.

Yasufumi Nakamori (Jury Chair) joined the The Minneapolis Institute of Art as the Curator of Photography in May 2016 and oversees the museum’s collections of photography, video, and other time-based media. A native of Osaka, Japan, he earned a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School and practiced law in New York City and Tokyo for seven years. After the galvanizing shock of 9/11, he embarked on a study of modern and contemporary art, earning his MA from Hunter College of the City University of New York and his PhD from Cornell University. Prior to joining MIA, he was the associate curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where in eight years he organized a dozen exhibitions and brought approximately 700 photographs into the collection. His exhibitions and books include Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture, Photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro (2010), which received the 2011 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Collections, Libraries and Exhibitions from the College Art Association, and For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968–1979 (2015). An expert in post-1945 global art and photography, he has taught East Asian modern and contemporary art and architecture at Rice University and Hunter College and spoken on the subject at universities and symposia in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

The Jury Chair is supported by the Japan Foundation, New Delhi.


The Application form can be downloaded from or obtained by emailing us at
There is no application fee.

The deadline for receipt of the completed application form is 5 December 2017.


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