The tenacity, rigour and patience of the 10-member preliminary jury finally completed the process of shortlisting more than 180 finalists. And Cima Awards 2022 finally got going. In the course of this pandemic-stricken edition, what has mattered most is the fact that our artists have continued working. This is where creativity has triumphed over existential crisis. Sumanta Dey, one of our applicants and selected as a finalist, succumbed to Covid-19. His work features posthumously in this edition of the Awards, an emblematic and evocative reminder of the treacherous and painful times we are all navigating. Sumanta’s creations will continue to live with us. May his soul rest in peace.
The current edition features paintings, sculptures, graphics, installations, digital and new media art. Given the constraints of the present pandemic, unlike other years, Cima has decided to display the selected artworks in only two venues of Kolkata — the iconic Gem cinema and Cima Gallery.
Many of the artistic creations bear testimony to these challenging times. One finds this in the choice of media, in the conceptual frameworks and in the ideas dealt with.
This edition does finally represent 20 states of India. Gender parity though remains an overriding challenge. Male participation has remained steadily at 75 percent and the participation of other genders has been relatively low. We hope to continue striving for greater gender inclusivity.
As part of the felicitation programme of Cima Awards, veteran artist Arpita Singh has been selected for her commendable lifetime achievement as a practicing artist. Tasneem Mehta shines for her outstanding restoration and programming of the Bhau Daji Museum of Mumbai.
Awards come and go, but what this project has emphasised from the very onset is developing a scrupulously transparent and rigorous system of evaluation — open, objective and forwardlooking. The Cima Awards has been all about that. Today hundreds of young artists from India are getting an opportunity to be introduced to a national and international audience. I am glad many of our recipients are getting selected by galleries, art institutions and art residencies from across India and the world. This is where the primary intent of the Cima Awards programme seems to have partially succeeded. It has emerged as a significant launchpad for talent.
This effort would not have been possible without the unequivocal perseverance of each and every jury member (a team of nearly 20 members including the preliminary and final jurors). On behalf of the advisory body of Cima Awards, may I express my deep gratitude for their magnanimous support.
In order to enhance content for the project, the Cima Awards advisory body has supported the international symposium in collaboration with our knowledge partner Ashoka University. This is the principal collateral venture associated with Cima Awards. And the theme this year is Imaginations — Rural, Urban and Global.
Since 2017, the symposium has attracted participants from across the world. It is committed to engaging with scholars, creative talents across disciplines thereby providing a multidisciplinary dimension to the overall intellectual discourse the project has aimed to unfold.
Lastly, but most importantly, on behalf of the advisory body of Cima Awards may I express my profound appreciation to all jurors, sponsors, partners, Lata Bajoria, nominators, friends, and well-wishers for their unstinted partnership and support to Cima Awards and the international symposium. Together, we hope to overcome the creative challenges of an extremely difficult time. We also aspire to catalyse the intellectual fervour of our respective regions, providing a common platform for all the arts to meet, share, exchange and in general promote a climate of intellectual inquiry.
My sincere gratitude to every member of the advisory board for their sustained guidance and ideas.
We have lost Aveek Sen, one of our most dedicated members of the advisory board. CIMA will miss him dearly. Our deepest condolences and prayers remain for his family.
In conclusion, I cannot help but ask — will these artistic and intellectual endeavours bring purpose to our distraught lives today? I doubt, yet hope, they leave a footprint for the coming generations and render a small difference to our lives and futures. Art heals; art consoles. Possibly we need both today more than ever before.