Anahita Taneja and Shefali Somani jointly conferred Officiers dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres [fr]

This distinction comes in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the field of arts, and their deep commitment to the promotion of South Asian artists and practices internationally. This award also honours their enduring contribution to the cultural relationship and cooperation between France and India.

New Delhi, 20 December 2023

On behalf of the French government, H.E. Mr Thierry Mathou, Ambassador of France to India, today conferred the insignia of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) on Anahita Taneja and Shefali Somani, the founders of Shrine Empire and Prameya Art Foundation at a special ceremony at the Residence of France.

This distinction comes in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the field of arts, and their deep commitment to the promotion of South Asian artists and practices internationally. This award also honours their enduring contribution to the cultural relationship and cooperation between France and India.

Congratulating them on this occasion, Ambassador Thierry Mathou said: “I am especially proud and delighted to confer the distinction of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on such an outstanding duo, Anahita Taneja and Shefali Somani. As joint founders of the Shrine Empire Gallery and Prameya Art Foundation, you have together instituted several prominent programmes and awards, and offer artist and writer residencies in both India and France. The honour bestowed on you tonight celebrates your remarkable contribution to this tireless mission of creating cultural bridges between France and India.”

Anahita Taneja and Shefali Somani founded Shrine Empire in 2008. Since its inception, Shrine Empire has consistently focused on promoting artists from the South Asian region whose practices emphasize process, research, and conceptual use of media and material. The gallery’s programming has created a unique identity for the space through curated exhibitions and propositions, as well as commissioned projects that explore crossings between aesthetics and social/political concerns of its immediate context. Shrine Empire’s community includes a large network of local and international partners, and in collaboration, the gallery contributes to building discourse on contemporary art in South Asia through discussions, artist talks, workshops and patronage. For the past several years, the gallery has extended its outreach programmes to build a strong base for the arts locally through sustained educational initiatives and by supporting alternative practices. In 2017 these initiatives were formally consolidated as the not-for-profit initiative, Prameya Art Foundation [PRAF].

Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

The French government distinction l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) is conferred on “persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture, and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.” Some noted Indian recipients of this honour in the past include Bharti Kher, Subodh Gupta, Shah Rukh Khan, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Raghu Rai, Ebrahim Alkazi, Habib Tanveer, and Upamanyu Chatterjee.

Prameya Art Foundation

Prameya Art Foundation is an initiative to support experimental practices as well as encourage trans-disciplinary collaborations. Conceived as a not-for-profit platform, the foundation is driven by the idea that for a sustainable arts context, it is important to invest in artistic research, curatorial projects, public art initiatives, social practice, collaborations and residencies. It aims to build a strong base for contemporary art practice and develop national and international strategic partnerships for supporting artists and their work. The objectives of the foundation include building new audiences through art education programs and innovative exhibitions.

Last modified on 21/12/2023

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