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Indian artist wins UK art award

April 26, 2008 11:21 IST

Indian artist N S Harsha, known for combining details for everyday life with world events and images, has bagged the UK's prestigious 40,000 pound Artes Mundi Prize, in recognition of his outstanding work focusing on the human condition.

The award was presented to Harsha on Thursday night at the National Museum in Cardiff by Jack Persekian, chairman of the Judging Panel, and Chinese artist Xu Bing, also a judge and the winner of the first Artes Mundi Prize.

An accomplished story-teller, 39-year-old Harsha has turned the Indian tradition of miniature painting into a form that enables him to mix the specific with the universal.

He uses it to draw attention to the whimsical, the absurd as much as the tragic and to the internationally significant.

After collecting the prize, Harsha revealed that it was a double celebration because it was also his birthday.

"I feel numb. It's a great responsibility that's been handed to me. Everyone believes in you and I have to take my work forward from here. It gives you strength to keep on believing," Harsha, who lives and works in Mysore, said.

The artist plans to share some of his prize money with the arts community, although he said he had not had time to think about how he will use his prize.

Harsha studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda in 1995.

Since then he has taken part in a variety of collaborative projects and exhibitions internationally, including the Singapore Biennale 2006, the 2nd Fukuoaka Asian Art Triennial 2002 and the Asia Pacific Triennial of contemporary Arts, Australia 1999.

Awarded every two years, the Artes Mundi Prize is the largest international art prize in Britain and one of the largest art prizes in the world.

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