Astha Butail chosen for next BMW Art Journey.
India-based artist to explore Israel, the United Kingdom and India.
Her winning project titled “In the Absence of Writing”, is concerned with memory and living traditions that are passed down through teaching and oral poetry. It, in the artist’s words, will be “a homage to the intangible oral traditions that are still alive today.” Butail’s research on systems of cultures started in 2009, when she began learning Sanskrit and memorized a collection of hymns. For the BMW Art Journey, Butail plans to investigate the Zoroastrian Avesta, Jewish Oral Torah and Indian Veda traditions by observing and recording their different memory techniques and interviewing scholars and practitioners of each tradition. The journey will lead through the cities of Yazd (Iran), Jerusalem (Israel), London (United Kingdom), Varanasi, Pune, New Delhi and Mumbai (India).
The international experts awarding Butail’s proposal were Claire Hsu, Director, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Bose Krishnamachari, President, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India; Matthias Mühling, Director, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau, Munich; Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian Art, and Senior Advisor, Global Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Pauline J. Yao, Curator Visual Art, M+, Hong Kong.
Art Basel and BMW will collaborate with the artist to document the journey and share it with a broader public through print publications, online and social media.
Launched in 2015, the BMW Art Journey is a collaboration between Art Basel and BMW, created to recognize and support emerging artists worldwide. The award is open to artists who are exhibiting in the Discoveries and Positions sectors in the Hong Kong and Miami Beach shows of Art Basel, respectively. Two judging panels comprised of internationally renowned experts meet first to select a shortlist of three artists from the sector, who are then invited to submit proposals for a journey aimed to further develop their ideas and artistic work. The jury reconvenes to choose a winner from the three proposals.
BMW is a global partner of Art Basel and has supported Art Basel’s three shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong for many years.