Dayanita Singh wins Hasselblad Award for photography

Singh is the first artist of south Asian descent to win the prize

Photo courtesy Cecilia Sandblom

The Hasselblad Foundation has awarded the New Delhi-based photographer Dayanita Singh the 2022 Hasseblad Prize – regarded as one of the world’s leading prizes for photography. This year’s edition comes with an award of 2 million Swedish krona.

Singh is the first artist of south Asian descent to win the prize. The 2022 jury was comprised of Joshua Chuang, Koyo Kouoh, Susan Meiselas, Daniel Palmer and Niyatee Shinde. Previous laureates include Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and Wolfgang Tillmans. 

‘Through her extensive photographic oeuvre Dayanita Singh has paved new ways for engaging with images,’ the prize’s organisers said. ‘From a humanist approach to portraiture to a consistent interest in the archive, her wide-spanning photography is innovatively presented in books and installations.’

Singh’s exhibition format of choice is the printed book – her first photobook, produced in 1986, consisted of an in-depth study of the famed tabla player Zakir Hussain, ranging from scenes of the musician at practice sessions and in concert to downtime with his family.

“I realised if I could just say ‘I’m a photographer’, then I could go wherever I liked. I could travel with whomever I liked. I didn’t have to be answerable to anyone,” Singh told ArtReview’s Fi Churchman in 2019. “I just invented the role of photographer for myself so that I could be free and not get boxed in by marriage or family or gender or artform or nationality. I hate all of that.”

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