Bhubaneswar:10/8/20: Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi’s highest award in the field of art and sculpture, the ‘Dharmapada award’ was given to seven eminent Odia artists on Monday. The award has been provided for their lifetime achievement in their respective fields. Odisha Culture and Tourism Minister Jyotiprakash Panigrahi visited the awardees’ houses to felicitate them. Dharmapada award was given to Gokul Bihari Patnaik (2009), Asim Basu (2010), Durga Prasad Das (2011), Sudarshan Sahu (2012), Padma Bhusan Jatin Das (2013), Dinanath Pathi (2014) and Padma Bibhusan Raghunath Mahapatra (2015). Gokul Bihari Patnaik, Asim Basu, and Dinanath Pathi got the award posthumously.
Late Patnaik’s wife Anusuya Patnaik, late Basu’s wife Geeta Basu and late Pathi’s son Soubhagya Kumar Pathi received the awards. As Dr Jatin Das could not be present in Bhubaneswar in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, a representative of Lalit Kala Akademi will go to New Delhi to present the award to him. Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi president Padma Shri Sudarshan Patnaik, and Akademi secretary Gajendra Sahu were present on this occasion.
Dr Jatin Das could not be present in Bhubaneswar in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, a representative of Lalit Kala Akademi will go to New Delhi to present the award to him. Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi president Padma Shri Sudarshan Patnaik, and Akademi secretary Gajendra Sahu were present on this occasion. The award, highest honour presented by Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi, carries Rs one lakh, a citation, and a shawl.
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. 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.