Art Basel and BMW are delighted to present Astha Butail (represented by GALLERYSKE, New Delhi, Bangalore) as the next BMW Art Journey winner. The international jury selected her unanimously from a shortlist of three artists whose works were exhibited in the Discoveries sector at this year’s Art Basel show in Hong Kong.
Her winning project titled In the Absence of Writing is concerned with memory and living traditions that are passed down through teaching and storytelling. In the artist’s words, it 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 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 jury applauded Butail's journey concept for the depth of its research and its multidimensional approach, noting that "it brings together ethnography, spirituality and sociology...We are excited that this Art Journey will bring the artist to regions that previous artists in the series have not yet visited."
In addition to Astha Butail, the shortlisted artists from the Discoveries sector for emerging artists at Art Basel in Hong Kong were Julian Charrière represented by Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin and Lin Ke represented by BANK, Shanghai.
Read more about the BMW Art Journey Initiative here.