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.



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 the Japan Foundation, New Delhi.


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

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


Please visit for more details.