Bhubaneswar: After being embroiled in controversies for over a decade that stalled the entire award-giving process, ‘Dharmapada’ awards will finally be conferred on the artists.
The Odisha Lalit Kala Academy recently announced to felicitate the artists soon. And the ceremony is likely to be held in a month’s time with the award being conferred for seven years, from 2009 to 2015.
“After consultation with the Law Department, ‘Dharmapada Purashkar and Silpi Sambardhana Utsav’ will be held soon,” said Odia Language Literature and Culture Secretary Manoranjan Panigrahi.
However, many of those nominated have passed away in the last few years and will be awarded posthumously.
Pattachitra artist late Gokul Bihari Pattnaik (2009), painter and theatre artist late Asim Basu ( 2010), ex-principle of Khallikote College Dr. Durga Prasad Das (2011), sculptor Sudarshan Sahoo (2012), international painter Jatin Das (2013), painter and art critic late Dinanath Pathy (2014) and Dr. Raghunath Mohapatra (2015) will be conferred with the award.
The award carries a purse of Rs 1 lakh, a memento and a citation.
The Academy will soon nominate artists from 2016 to 2020, the reports added.
Interestingly, Asit Mukherjee was the last to be conferred with the award in 2006. Subsequently, the Academy announced names of the awardees from 2009 onwards and no explanation was given for those missing years. Among those nominated were the ones who had dragged the award to court alleging irregularities. While Dinanath Pathy had alleged irregularities in the nomination of the awards in 2008, Asim Basu and Durga Prasad Das along with Pathy were among the 11 artists who had written to the Chief Minister on February 4, 2009 complaining against Chandramani Biswal, who was the Secretary of Odisha Lalit Kala Academy in 2008.
Two other winners – Sudarshan Sahoo and Raghunath Mohapatra – were part of the search committee for the award, but they resigned and got the awards themselves.
In the meantime, the state government doubled the award amount.