Asia Society Presents First Asia Arts Awards in India Honoring Abir Karmakar, Krishen Khanna, teamLab

NEW DELHI, January 27, 2017 — Recognizing Asia’s rich cultural and artistic legacy, and a rising global focus on Asian contemporary art, the Asia Society India Centre and Asia Society Museum present the first Asia Arts Awards in India. The awards acknowledge and celebrate eminent artists living and working on the continent who have brought a deeper understanding of the region and its artistic practices to the people of Asia and beyond.The first Asia Arts Awards India honor Abir Karmakar, Krishen Khanna, and the artist collaborative teamLab. Each has made an indelible mark on the development of modern and contemporary art in the region through their artistic practice.

Abir Karmakar (b. 1977 in Siliguri, India) – Asia Arts Future Award
Krishen Khanna (b. 1925 in Lyallpur, in pre-partition India, now Faislabad, Pakistan) – Asia Arts Vanguard Award
teamLab (founded 2001 in Tokyo, Japan) – Asia Arts Future Award

“This is Asia’s moment,” says Boon Hui Tan, Vice President of Global Arts and Cultural Programs at Asia Society and Director of Asia Society Museum in New York. “Asia Society’s Asian Arts Awards India affirms that places of extraordinary artistic creativity are occurring all over the Asia region. South Asia is one of those regions where the encounter between millennium deep civilizations and the global contemporary is nurturing exciting new forms of artistic practice. As a global initiative, this event in India builds on the original awards platform in Hong Kong to give a more diverse picture of Asian art in the contemporary moment.”

“The Asia Arts Awards are meant to bring together a community of artists, arts supporters and patrons that encourage and foster the development of contemporary Art in the continent,” says Bunty Chand, CEO, Asia Society India Centre. “Our hope is that through these awards - artists, arts professionals, collectors and the public within Asia develop a deeper connection, understanding and engagement with each other’s art practices.”

The awards will be presented at a gala benefit dinner at the Taj Mansingh Hotel in New Delhi on February 1, 2017, on the eve of the opening of the India Art Fair. Over 150 global artists, curators, collectors, arts professionals, and Asia Society supporters are expected to attend.

The Asia Arts Awards India are part of a larger initiative, now in its fifth year, at Asia Society to recognize and honor ground-breaking Asian artists called the Asia Arts Game Changer Awards. The Indian edition of the Awards reflects the diverse and multiple sources of artistic creativity occurring across Asia. An awards ceremony is also held in Hong Kong during the week of Art Basel in Hong Kong, celebrating contemporary arts in Asia and honoring artists and arts professionals for their significant contributions to contemporary arts. The Asia Arts Awards Hong Kong will be held on March 23, 2017. For more than twenty years, Asia Society has been a pioneer in identifying and fostering the latest contemporary Asian artists and engaging new audiences for their work.

About the Awards

Asia Arts Vanguard Award
The Asia Arts Vanguard Award recognizes a senior visual artist who has served as a mentor and pioneer in his or her generation by exploring new subjects, forms, and mediums.

Asia Arts Future Award
The Asia Arts Future Award is given to visual artists who are innovators in broadening the current understanding and perception of contemporary art in their country.

About the Honorees

Born in 1977 in Siliguri, West Bengal, Abir Karmakar completed his Bachelor’s degree in Visual Art from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, in 2001, and then his Master’s degree in Fine Art from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, in 2003. Karmakar is known for his casual and voyeuristic self-portraits, in which he places his naked body in intimate settings. His body language and the mysterious eye contact he makes with viewers are provocative, offering his interpretation of sexuality and the fluid nature of identity in contemporary contexts. Kamarkar’s solo shows include “Within The Walls,” “In The Old Fashioned Way,” “Interiors,” and “From My Photo Album.”

Born in 1925, Khanna grew up in Lahore. He began studying art after he graduated from college in evening classes held at the Mayo School of Art. In 1947, Khanna’s family moved to Shimla as a result of the Partition of India and Pakistan, and Khanna was deeply affected by not only the change in his personal life, but also the socio-political chaos that reigned around him. His early works are reproductions of the scenes that were indelibly imprinted in his memory during this period. Most of Khanna’s work is figurative; he chose not to explore the abstraction that most of his contemporaries were delving into.

Formed in 2001, teamLab is a collective, interdisciplinary creative group that brings together professionals from various fields of practice in the digital society: artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, architects, web and print graphic designers, and editors. Referring to themselves as “Ultra-technologists,” their aim is to achieve a balance between art, science, technology, and creativity. teamLab believes that digital technology can expand art and that digital art can create new relationships between people.

About Asia Society India Centre
Asia Society India Centre enhances dialogue, encourages creative expression and generates ideas in the areas of business and policy, and arts and culture. It was inaugurated in 2006 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and has hosted over 500 events since its inception, establishing itself as a leading public education platform. The India Centre, through its diverse and multidisciplinary programming initiatives including public lectures, business discussions, policy roundtables, curated art tours, performances, lecture demonstrations and leadership programmes, cultivates nuanced understandings of Asia Pacific affairs. Find out more at

About Asia Society Museum
Asia Society Museum presents a wide range of traditional, modern, and contemporary exhibitions of Asian and Asian American art, taking new approaches to familiar masterpieces and introducing under-recognized arts and artists. The Asia Society Museum Collection comprises a traditional art collection that includes the initial bequests of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, and a contemporary art collection. Through exhibitions and public programs, Asia Society provides a forum for the issues and viewpoints reflected in both traditional and contemporary Asian art, and in Asia today.

Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational institution headquartered in New York with state-of-the-art cultural centers and gallery spaces in Hong Kong and Houston, and offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Washington, D.C., and Zurich.