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May 24 2019

Nalini Malani Honored With Joan Mir├│ Prize

by Ophelia Lai

NALINI MALANI is the winner of the 2019 Joan Miró Prize. Photo by Johan Pijnappet. Courtesy the artist.

On May 23, Barcelona’s Fundació Joan Miró and the Valencia-based ”la Caixa” Foundation jointly announced Nalini Malani as the winner of the 2019 Joan Miró Prize, now in its seventh edition. The ”la Caixa” Foundation endowed the EUR 70,000 (USD 78,300) award and will also fund the production of a solo exhibition of Malani’s work, to be staged at the Fundació Joan Miró in 2020.

Born in Karachi in 1946—a year before the violent breakup of the British Raj, which forced her family to flee to Kolkata—Malani has spent the past five decades of her artistic career reflecting on the personal and collective trauma of the Partition through works tackling war, brutality, and the oppression of women. Trained as a painter at the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art, University of Mumbai, Malani is particularly well-known for her reverse-glass paintings, which subvert the traditional 18th-century genre by combining motifs from Eastern and Western folklore, as well as depicting nude female figures, truncated bodies, and fantastical creatures in disturbing compositions that allude to historical violence. Her expansive oeuvre also includes drawing, video installations, and animations produced on her iPad.

Malani was selected “for her prodigious intellectual curiosity, her radical imagination and her socio-political awareness” by a jury that comprised Fundació Joan Miró’s director, Marko Daniel; head of ”la Caixa” Foundation’s contemporary art collection, Nimfa Bisbe; Iwona Blazwick, director of Whitechapel Gallery, London; director of Stockholm’s Bonniers Konsthall, Magnus af Petersens; and independent curators and ex-museum directors Alfred Pacquement and João Ribas. The jurors praised Malani’s “very personal, cosmopolitan iconographic mingling that boldly denounces contemporary violence and injustice, and their effects on planetary life.”

Previous winners of the biennial Joan Miró Prize include Kader Attia (2017), Ignasi Aballí (2015), and Mona Hatoum (2011).

Ophelia Lai is ArtAsiaPacific’s reviews editor.

To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, visit our Digital Library.

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