To strengthen regional cooperation on the foundation of the strong bilateral relations through cultural exchange, Serendipity Arts Foundation and Les Rencontres d’Arles announced the biggest photography, video and new media grant, supported by the Institut français en Inde named the Serendipity Arles Grant, with the shared purpose of promoting cultural practices in South Asia.

The grant offers support of INR 12,00,000/- to lens based practitioners from the South Asian Region. The Grant is open to practitioners who are residents of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

The largest of its kind, the grant will be awarded in two stages.  The first stage will  support 10 artists with a grant of INR 70,000 (approximately 800 euros). Along with receiving a part of the grant, these ten shortlisted candidates will also be given the opportunity to showcase their work at the forthcoming edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival.

In the second stage, will support one artist from the ten previously shortlisted artists, who would then receive a grant of INR 12,00,000 (approximately 15,000 euros) to develop the project and show the final presentation at the Rencontres d’Arles, France, in 2022.


Sathish Kumar
Sathish Kumar, born(1986) and brought up in Kanchipuram, India. A large part of my school vacations was spent at my uncle’s photo studio which became an inspiration for me to pursue photography. I got a point and shoot film camera from my uncle as a gift which I always carried around to school picnics, cricket grounds shooting my friends and everything around. With photography, I want to record my everyday existence, of all encounters and journeys to create an expression of myself, of my life, of the world around. Currently, I am working as a freelance photographer in Chennai, India.


Adira Thekkuveettil
Adira Thekkuveettil is an artist, researcher and designer working primarily with photography. Her artistic practice explores how deeply personal narratives are enmeshed within larger political and socio-economic contexts that define the lived experience, but are often not directly visible. Her most recent body of work is concerned with the rendering of cities in media (from the historical to the contemporary), and how they significantly shape its built environment. In her professional practice, Adira is an exhibition designer and curator, working with various institutional as well as personal archives, museums and private collections across India. She is a graduate of the National Institute of Design, and is currently based out of Trivandrum, Kerala.

Ishan Tankha
Ishan Tankha is a photographer based in India whose images explore the relationship between social and physical environments. His work has focused on ecological degradation and the corresponding displacement and dispossession of indigenous communities, life in times of rising air pollution and the shifting shape of urban and rural life and landscape in the subcontinent. “A Peal of Spring Thunder,” his in-progress photobook on social life and environment in Chhattisgarh in the backdrop of a violent conflict between the state and armed guerillas was a finalist at the Alkazi Foundation Grant 2016 , Cosmos and Kassel Photobook Awards 2017 and the Sher-gil Sundaram Arts Foundation Grant 2019. His work has been widely exhibited, including at the FotoFest Houston, Noorderlicht Photofestival , Photo Kathmandu, the Archives Nationales, Paris and the Japan Foundation, New Delhi. Formerly Photo Editor at Tehelka magazine, his reportage has featured in Le Monde, The FT, The Guardian, BuzzFeed News, SCMP and The Caravan.

Jaisingh Nageswaran & Alisha Sett
Jaisingh Nageswaran is an artist who works as a photographer for films. Born dyslexic to working-class parents in Madurai, he was taught by his beloved grandmother at home, which was a sanctuary. She taught him another way of living life. When even she couldn’t cope with his learning disabilities, his father was advised by his extended family to stop his education. But he eventually completed his Masters in Mass Communication. This course sparked his interest in documenting socially-vulnerable communities as well as issues of rural life, and brought him into an art practice which continues to evolve.

Alisha Sett is a curator, writer, and educator. She is Course Director for Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory at Jnanapravaha Mumbai, founding member of Kashmir Photo Collective, producer for Round O Films LLC, and the initiator of Guncotton with Radiclani Clytus.

Nida Mehboob
Nida Mehboob is a photographer & filmmaker based in Lahore, Pakistan. Her topic of interests includes themes of social injustice varying from religious persecution and gender discrimination in Pakistan. Her documentary work got her into several international workshops over the years including a fellowship by Magnum Foundation for their Social Justice Program in 2019. She has been selected to attend the Berlin Film Festival as a Talent in 2020. Her short films have screened at international film festivals including Locarno Film Festival 2018.

Sadia Marium
Sadia Marium dreamt of being a filmmaker, worked as a Merchandiser and at present an independent photographer based in Dhaka. Sadia’s practice pollinates the process of creating photographs, books, videos, and alternative printing methods. ‘Intrusion’ intrigues her the most. Ordinary characters, unremarkable memories, spaces and objects are the protagonists of her works in tracing the distinction & overlap of reality & fiction, private & public. Sadia’s interest in geopolitics & border discourse, role of narratives in creating memory are shaping her recent and new works. She is one of the founder members of ‘Kaali Collective’.

Sanna Irshad Mattoo
Sanna Irshad Mattoo, 26, a photojournalist and documentary photographer based and working in Indian-administered Kashmir. Ranging from ground breaking news to in-depth storytelling – her work concentrates on depicting the tight-rope tension between the seeming ordinariness of life and the stark symbols of a menacing militarized milieu of Kashmir. Sanna presently contributes to Reuters as a Multimedia journalist. Her work has been published in Reuters, Al-Jazeera English, TRT world, TIME, The Nation, Foam Magazine, Pakistan Today, SCMP, The Hindu, Caravan Magazine, Firstpost, The Quint and various other media outlets. She has also worked as a Multimedia Producer in the local media outlet —Kashmir Walla, and contributed to ZUMA Press. Her visual documentation and photographic work from Kashmir have been screened and exhibited in various exhibitions and festivals.

Tenzing Dakpa
Tenzing Dakpa (b. 1985) is a graduate of College of Art, University of Delhi (BFA, 2009) and Rhode Island School of Design (MFA Photography, 2016).Dakpa’s works have been exhibited at various art galleries and institutions including: Indigo+Madder, London (2019), Asia House, London (2018); FotoFest Houston Biennial,Asia Society Texas Center (2018); Clamp Art Gallery, New York City (2016); Sol Koffler Gallery, Rhode Island (2015); World Event Young Artists, Nottingham (2012). His photobook The Hotel was shortlisted for the Mack FirstBook Award 2018 and won the Steidl Photobook Award for The Hotel at the Singapore International Photography Festival 2018.

Vinayak Suresh
Vinayak Suresh is a visual artist and photographer born and raised in Kozhikode, Kerala, where he is currently based. He completed his education at the National Institute of Design with a Masters in Photography Design. His practice primarily involves making books and experimenting with text/image.

Yu Yu Myint Than
Yu Yu Myint Than is Myanmar photographer based in Yangon. Previously a photographer at Myanmar Time, she now focuses on personal photo documentaries. Yu Yu works with Myanmar Deitta, the organization which develops resources for local photographers and filmmakers, and a founding member of woman photographer collective called Thuma. She’s won several international scholarships and fellowship including Mangum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice Fellow 2017. Her works have been exhibited and published locally and internationally. She’s keenly interested in photobook-making as another layer of story-telling besides photographing. She is working on personal stories looking at memories and human-rights related issues.


The applications for the Serendipity Arles Grant 2020 will be reviewed by a jury comprising experts from the arts—scholars, critics, artists, and cultural practitioners from the South Asian region. 

Christoph Wiesner
In 1997, Christoph Wiesner joined the Esther Schipper gallery in Berlin as an employee. Then he became its director. In 2012 he returned to France to join the Yvon Lambert gallery in Paris as senior director. Since 2015, he has been artistic director of Paris Photo, where he canvasses new galleries and publishers and develops the opening up to emergence and film, which is framed each year by a renewed cultural program. Currently Christoph is Director at Rencontres d’Arles.

Dayanita Singh
Dayanita Singh’s art uses photography to reflect and expand on the ways in which we relate to photographic images. Her recent works, drawn from her extensive photographic oeuvre, are a series of mobile museums that allow her images to be endlessly edited, sequenced, archived and displayed. Stemming from Singh’s interest in the archive, the museums present her photographs as interconnected bodies of work that are replete with both poetic and narrative possibilities. Publishing is also a significant part of the artist’s practice: in her books, often published without text, Singh extends her experiments on alternate forms of producing and viewing photographs.

Devika Singh
Devika Singh is Curator, International Art at Tate Modern. Her writing has appeared widely in exhibition catalogues, magazines including frieze, Art Press and MARG and in the journals Art History, Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Art Historiography and Third Text. Singh was previously Smuts Research Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies of the University of Cambridge and a fellow at the Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris. She curated exhibitions including ‘Planetary Planning’ (Dhaka Art Summit, 2018) and ‘Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan’ (Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2019-20) and co-curated ‘Gedney in India’ (Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, CSMVS, Mumbai, 2017; Duke University, 2018).

Ravi Agarwal
Ravi Agarwal has an inter-disciplinary practice as an artist, environmental campaigner, writer and curator. His work explores key contemporary questions of ecology, society, urban space and capital through photographs, videos and installations. He has shown widely including at the Biennials of Havana (2019) Yinchuan (2018), Kochi (2016), Sharjah (2013), Documenta XI (2002), etc. He co-curated the Yamuna-Elbe project, Indo-German twin city public art and ecology project (2011), Embrace our Rivers – an Indo- European project in Chennai (2018), and was the photography curator for the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 and 2019. His work is in several private and public collections, and he has edited and authored sereval books and journals. Alongside Ravi is the founder director of the environmental NGO Toxics Link and recipient of the UN Award for Chemical Safety and the Ashoka Fellowship.

Tanzim Wahab
Tanzim Wahab is the chief curator at Bengal Foundation, Dhaka and his practice has been focused on the correspondences between alternative education and contextual art across South Asia. He has headed several curatorial research projects and exhibitions, including Breaking Ground: Modern Art in Transition – featuring works of the contextual modernists of Bangladesh, and Subtext – a pseudo-reading room in white cube examining the symbiosis of text-based-art and art-based-text.  Tanzim was the vice-principal of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute and curator of Chobi Mela Photography Festival, Dhaka at the editions of 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. He has been a fellow of several programs, including Art for Social Change, USA and Art Think South Asia (ATSA), India among others. Tanzim is currently a lecturer at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.

Smriti Rajgarhia
Smriti Rajgarhia is Director of the Serendipity Arts Foundation and the Serendipity Arts Festival. Trained as an architect with a Masters in Design, Smriti began her career in the arts fourteen years ago working with a private archive in New Delhi, where she eventually created a museum space and archive for the collection. During this stint, her interest expanded into bringing art to the public, and contextualizing art within the region through arts education and awareness. Smriti has also curated exhibitions on subjects that reflect the history and relevance of archives. Currently, Smriti is leading the Foundation and working on the Serendipity Arts Festival to bring her passion for art and design to the forefront by creating unique opportunities for creative individuals. With these two platforms, she endeavours to explore newer forms of representation and re-contextualize the kind of programming institutions need to engage with to widen the demographic of the audience for the arts in India. Her personal interest also lies in adapting urban spaces to presentation of the arts, reclaiming the urban and questioning the impact of art and cultural interventions for a city/state/country.

All 2019 Grants