Largest-ever grant for photographers in South Asia
By Dimithri Wijesinghe
The Serendipity Arts Foundation (SAF) is an arts and cultural development foundation established to encourage and support the arts. As a contributor to civil society, the foundation together with Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s first international festival of photography founded way back in 1970, have announced a major photography, videography, and new media grant supported by the Embassy of France in India.
This comes at a time the cultural community, like everyone else, is faced with a time of uncertainty due to the prevailing pandemic. The grant, which is SAF’s most ambitious prize money for lens-based practitioners in South Asia, provides for SAF’s and Les Rencontres d’Arles Founders’ interests in supporting the creation of creative platforms for the wider public with a unique source of contemporary art and culture.
The grant is available to those practitioners in the South Asian region including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka for submissions in three lens-based media.
The “Serendipity Arles Grant” supported by the French Institute in India will provide Indian Rs. 1,200, 000. Ten (10) shortlisted candidates will be given the opportunity to showcase their work at the upcoming edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival scheduled to take place in February 2021 in Goa, India.
The open call for entries commenced on 15 April and can be submitted through the social media handles of Serendipity Arts Foundation, Les Rencontres d’Arles, and the Embassy of France in India, after which the accepting applications will be closed on 7 July. The valid applications for the grant received within this deadline will be shortlisted by the jury.
The jury will unanimously declare the finalist out of the 10 shortlisted artists, who would then receive the grant to develop the project and show the final presentation at Rencontres d’Arles, France in 2022.
Speaking to The Morning Brunch, National Association of Photographers Sri Lanka (NAPSL) Director Deepal Gunatilake shared that while he is not fully aware of the extent of grants such as this, it is a wonderful initiative coming from our neighbours and their foreign relations shared with the entirety of South Asia. Gunatilake encourages all hopefuls to submit their work.
We also spoke to Harsha Maduranga Jayasekara, an award-winning professional photographer and member of the NAPSL, who shared that he believes that even if the photographer considering submitting (his/her work) is not someone who is well versed in the form of abstract and art photography, they should give it a chance as talent and art is subjective and therefore they may have skills that are yet undiscovered.
For more details about the grant, eligibility criteria, and to apply, please visit www.serendipityartsfoundation.org