An artist’s journey

Print edition : July 26, 2103

Sajitha Shankar was born at Kumaranalloor, a village in Kottayam district in Kerala, in 1967. After successfully completing a BFA degree from the Government College of Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, she worked for three years at the Regional Centre Studios of the Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai, and later lived and worked at Cholamandal Artists’ Village for 16 years. During this period, she travelled to the major art centres in the world, attended workshops, did collaborative work with artists and writers abroad and had several shows in major art galleries across Asia and Europe.

She was a member of the Lalit Kala Akademi, Kerala, for nine years from 2002 to 2011 and served as a member of the jury for art exhibitions such as those of the Kerala State Annual Art Exhibition and the All India Fine Arts Society. She was also on the governing body of Vyloppilly Sanskriti Bhavan, a cultural centre run by the Government of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram.

In 2007, she launched an innovative centre for art, the Gowri Art Institute, at Kallar; she was its founder-director. She works at the Garhi Studios of the Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi.

She has held 22 solo shows of her works in Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Kochi and other cities and towns in India as also in Paris, Vienna, Valladolid (Spain), Bochum, Essen, Metzingen, Oberhausen (Germany), London, Oxford, Hexam and Northumberland (United Kingdom).

This is besides 50 group shows across the world, including in the Netherlands and Germany. She has also taken part in countless workshops and art camps and organised many on her own.

Her honours include the Charles Wallace Fellowship; Senior Fellowship from the Department of Culture, Government of India (2009-11); a French scholarship for an Artist’s Residency in Paris (2006-07); Senior Award at the special exhibition to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Indian Independence held in Tamil Nadu (1997); and Grand Prize at the Cleveland International Drawing Biennale, U.K. (1995), besides the Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi Award and the Lion’s Club Award. Sajitha Shankar was one of the 14 leading women artists honoured by the National Legal Service Authority in 2008.

Her works are in several collections in India and abroad, including those at the Alliance Francaise; the National Gallery of Modern Art; the Delhi Art gallery; the Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi; and the Malayala Kala Gramam, Mahe, Kerala. She has also illustrated many works of poetry, including one of Kamala Das’.

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