Nalini Malani

2023 Kyoto Prize Laureates

Arts and Philosophy

Arts(Painting, Sculpture, Craft, Architecture, Photography, Design, etc.)

Nalini Malani

/  Artist

1946 -

Commemorative Lectures

My Reality is Different


11 /11 Sat

13:00 - 16:00

Place:Kyoto International Conference Center

Capacity:1,500 persons (FCFS)

Admission Free

Achievement Digest

An Artist from the Non-Western World Who Has Faced the Predicaments of the Oppressed, Pioneered Artistic Expression Representing the Voice of the Voiceless, and Contributed to the “Decentralization” of Art

Nalini Malani has created phantasmagorical spaces with approachable art forms using various media such as videos, paintings, drawings, and installations, and pioneered artistic expression that brings the voices of the voiceless to more people. She is active globally as a non-Western artist, contributing greatly to current trends reconsidering Western-centrism in art.


Creating phantasmagorical spaces with approachable art forms using various media, Nalini Malani has produced works to bring the voice of the voiceless to more people. She is one of the pioneering non-Western artists who are internationally active. It is especially noteworthy that she comes from a region of the world where many women face difficulty achieving social advancement. She has contributed to the “decentralization” of art that has been ongoing for more than 30 years since the end of the 20th century.

She came to India as a refugee during the partition of India and Pakistan. After studying art in Mumbai, she studied in Paris, where she met many intellectuals and developed an eye for observing the reality of her homeland from the outside.

With this experience, she returned to India, where various social problems, such as religious conflicts and discrimination, persisted. Facing the predicaments of the oppressed, such as women and the poor, she has produced works using various media, including videos, paintings, drawings, and installations, to appeal to a wide range of people from across the world. In the 2000s, Malani established a style for which she is now famous, taking motifs of deities from traditional mythology and using new technologies such as video and projection to create phantasmagorical spaces reminiscent of shadow plays and revolving lanterns. The oppressors, the oppressed, the goddesses who govern the world as it turns, and various animals all mingle together, spinning around and projecting their shadows on the walls. Viewers hearken to the voices of the voiceless buried in today’s society, as if they are watching a scene from a mythological play performed at a local festival.

Malani’s works enjoy a global appeal due to her superior drawing skills, the beauty of the space that envelops the viewer, and universal themes such as conflict, reconciliation, oppression, dreams, and myths. With increasing opportunities for participating in international exhibitions since the 1990s, she became the first contemporary Indian artist in 2017 to have a retrospective exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. She has been instrumental in current trends reconsidering Western-centrism in art.

Malani, who remains rooted in the realities of the local community and faced the predicaments of the oppressed, pioneered artistic expression that brings their voices to more people and has made significant contributions to a change in the conventional view of art as a non-Western artist.

For these reasons, the Inamori Foundation is pleased to present the 2023 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy to Nalini Malani.


Born in Karachi, British India
Came to India as a refugee during the partition of India and Pakistan
First solo exhibition, Nalini Malani at Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
First international group exhibition, the 5th International Young Artists Exhibition, Tokyo
Made a series of short films at the Vision Exchange Workshop, Mumbai
French Government Scholarship for Fine Arts to study in Paris
Initiated and co-organized the first all-female Indian traveling exhibition
First international solo exhibition, Hamletmachine, at New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
Participated in the 52nd Venice Biennale
Participated in dOCUMENTA (13)
Year-long retrospective at Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi
Retrospective at Centre Pompidou, Paris and Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli
Inaugural solo exhibition at The Studio, M+, Hong Kong
Selected Awards and Honors
Fukuoka Prize for Arts and Culture
Joan Miró Prize
National Gallery Contemporary Fellowship with Art Fund
Selected Works
Utopia (film diptych)
City of Desires (wall drawing/erasure performance)
Remembering Toba Tek Singh (video play)
Transgressions (video/shadow play)
Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain (video play)
Splitting the Other (multi panel painting)
In Search of Vanished Blood (video/shadow play)
Can You Hear Me? (animation chamber)
My Reality is Different (animation chamber)

Profile is at the time of the award.