ILA DALMIA FICA RESEARCH GRANT | Supported by Yashodhara Dalmia |


The Ila Dalmia FICA Research Grant 2019, instituted by FIC,A with the support of art historian and curator Yashodhara Dalmia in the memory of her sister Ila Dalmia, aims to provide an annual grant to support research on Indian modern and contemporary art. The grant amount of Rs. Two Lakhs will focus on supporting an independent, year-long research project by a selected Indian applicant.

The application is open to individuals who are interested in developing research in the field of visual arts with particular focus on Indian modern and contemporary Indian art. The project could include more general considerations of curation, art writing and criticism, critical analysis of Indian art history, archival research, institutional histories, an interdisciplinary analysis of theory and practice in the visual arts, the art economy, among others. The expected project should include first-hand research and engagement with art and art historical material.

The candidate must provide clear points of inquiry and a starting methodology for the research.


  • Applicant should be above 18 years of age at the time of submission of application.

  • Applicant should be an Indian citizen

  • Applicant should have a post graduate degree in humanities.

  • Applications are open only to individuals.

  • The proposal can be part of a larger research project that is currently underway. The applicant must clearly chart out what portion of the research will be undertaken as part of this Grant.

 The Recipient of the Grant

  • Will be expected to complete their research within the one year period of the grant.

  • Will have to submit two copies of the completed final research paper, with references, bibliography and other documentation material at the end of the one year to FICA.

  • He/she will also to provide two interim reports to share the progress on the project.

  • Will be expected to travel to Delhi and present their paper at a public event organised by FICA.  The funds for this will be made available separately.

  • Will have to submit a final expense statement with a break-up of the funds received.

Application details for submission: Please note that incomplete applications will not be accepted.

1. Completed Application Form, downloadable from HERE.

2. A Research Proposal (max. 2000 words) that gives a short description of the topic of study, research methodology, and key research questions.
Please attach a reference Bibliography for your research in the same document. Please include images or videos of works to support your proposal if necessary.

3. A Complete Budget towards which the grant money will be spent (travel, accommodation, books, photocopying, printing, library fees, etc.).
Also include a Timeline for project development in the same document.

4. Two samples of published papers. (This could also include unpublished dissertations)

5. Recent CV.

Ila Dalmia (1944-2003) was a passionate writer in Hindi and English prose and poetry and her interest extended to art, music and theatre. Her home in Delhi which she shared with her partner S.H. Vatsyayan, the legendary Hindi writer, popularly known as ‘Ajneya’ , was a hub for literary and artistic activities. In addition, the critical magazine for arts and literature Naya Pratik was started by her and Vatsyayan and was highly regarded for its new and experimental writing.

Apart from several essays and articles, she had written a biographical novel Chat par Aparna and a volume of her collected works titled Ila was published shortly after her demise. She was also a generous patron of the arts and supported many young artists and writers. Ila died prematurely due to a critical illness but is remembered by her friends and supporters as one of the most compassionate and inspirational cultural personalities of her time.

The research grant which commemorates Ila’s generous support for the arts has been established with a donation by her sister, Yashodhara Dalmia, an art historian and independent curator based in New Delhi. Yashodhara has written widely on art and her books Buddha to Krishna, Life and Times of George Keyt (Routledge, 2017) and Amrita Sher-Gil – A Life (Penguin/Viking, 2006) are comprehensive accounts of the life and work of early South Asian modernists.

She is the author of seminal books like The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives (2001), of Memory, Metaphor, Mutations: Contemporary Art of India and Pakistan with Salima Hashmi (2007) and Journeys: Four Generations of Indian Artists (2011). She curated the inaugural exhibition at the NGMA (Mumbai) in 1996 titled The Moderns, which featured 200 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings by the Progressive Artists. Her other curated shows include Souza in London, Volte-Face: Souza’s Iconoclastic Vision, Indian (Sub)Way and Tyeb Mehta: Triumph of Vision.