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Sheela Gowda.
Sheela Gowda.

Sheela Gowda Awarded 2019 Maria Lassnig Prize

Artist Sheela Gowda has been named the second winner of the Maria Lassnig Prize, a biennial award that recognizes midcareer artists and comes with an approximately $56,000 cash prize. Gowda will present a solo exhibition at the institutional partner for this year’s prize, the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau in Munich, in spring of 2020 and will be honored at an award ceremony at the museum on June 7.

Gowda lives and works in Bangalore, India. She studied painting at the city’s Ken School of Art as well as at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan and the Royal College of Art in London. Known for her sculptures and installations that incorporate locally sourced materials such as cow dung, kumkuma powder, incense, and coconut fibers, as well as hairs, needles, and threads, the artist often reflects on urban and rural life in India in her works.

Over the course of her career, Gowda has exhibited at a number of international exhibitions, including the 2012 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the 2009 Venice Biennale, and Documenta 12. Solo exhibitions of her works were held at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, in 2017; Para Site, Hong Kong, in 2015; and the daadgalerie in Berlin, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and the Centre International d’ Art et du Paysage in Vassivière in 2014. She was also a 2014 finalist for the Hugo Boss Award.

The prize’s jury comprised the Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse; Eva Huttenlauch, head of the collection and curator of art after 1945 at the Lenbachhaus in Munich; Matthias Mühling, the director of Lenbachhaus and a foundation board member; Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries in London and a member of the organization’s advisory board; Peter Pakesch, board chair of the foundation; and Stephanie Weber, curator of contemporary art at Lenbachhaus.