Sheela Gowda has been awarded the 2019 Maria Lassnig Prize, which is given biennially by the Maria Lassnig Foundation.
Gowda is the second artist to be granted this prize, which comes with €50,000 (about $56,300) as well as a solo exhibition at an affiliated institution, which for Gowda will be the Lenbachhaus museum in Munich, Germany. The prize, which is awarded to a mid-career artist, was conceived by Lassnig just before her death in 2014.
Gowda, who is based in Bangalore, India, is primarily known for work in sculpture, photography, and installation that incorporates a diverse array of locally-sourced materials, from cow dung to coconut fibers, and addresses sociopolitical issues like the treatment of female laborers in her home country. She’s was nominated for the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize, and exhibition widely, including in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012, the Venice Biennale in 2009, and Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, in 2007.
Peter Pakesch, the chairman of Lassnig Foundation’s board, said in a release, “We are now delighted to present the second award to Sheela Gowda, who, in her early oil painting and especially in her engagement with the difficult working conditions of women in Indian society, touches on themes that were also central to the work of Maria Lassnig.”
Gowda was selected by a jury composed of Pakesch; artist Katharina Grosse; Maria Lassnig Foundation board-member and curator Eva Huttenlauch; Hans Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director of Serpentine Galleries in London; and Stephanie Weber, curator of contemporary art at Lenbachhaus.