The MurthyNAYAK Foundation (MNF) is a family foundation established by Vasant Nayak and Sheela Murthy. With focus on the U.S. and India, MNF identifies and supports a range of projects that have goals that align with their own.
MNF has been working with the Society for Photographic Education (SPE) to organize an invitational symposium in Delhi in January 2020. We have provided financial support to Aperture Foundation for the presentations of Aperture Conversations: Earth (22.Apr.2019), and Guadalupe Rosales and Vivian Crockett (25.Sep.2019), as well as for the Dec.2019 issue of Aperture magazine, "Spirituality," guest edited by Wolfgang Tillmans, and for an upcoming 2020 issue. MNF also supported the UN/DO Photography Workshop, conducted by the Polis Project, in NYC, 2019. MNF funded five mid-career Indian photographers to enable their travel, participation, and portfolio reviews at FOTOFEST 2018.
We teamed up with the Tata Institute for Social Sciences, creating a program to award funds to alumni who would produce short documentaries for NGOs to expose problems and promote awareness, prompting social change.
MNF has enabled world-renowned photographers like Sudharak Olwe, of Mumbai, Max Pinckers, from Belgium, and Colette Veasey-Cullors, from the Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA), USA, to lecture and conduct workshops at institutions in India. The foundation is also working with MICA to extend the international reach of their photography program.
Through the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communications (SACAC), MNF is awarding an annual Social Documentary Award to a young photographer to fund completion of a project submitted to the jury for consideration. MNF also funded eleven SACAC alumni to document the Farmers' Freedom March in Nov 2018, who worked in association with P. Sainath of People's Archive of Rural India (PARI). Scholarships were also provided for underprivileged students to study at SACAC.
We created the MediaArts Lab and the iCommunity project at Agastya International Foundation's Kuppam Campus and outfitted it with new equipment to teach digital literacy to village students who otherwise have no access to computers or the internet.
The foundation has given several lens-based artists in India funds to pursue particular projects that were in line with our mission. MNF has also contributed funds to The Jodhpur Photography Museum towards an archival project.
MNF has committed funds in 2020 to a project by Sudharak Olwe's Photography Promotion Trust, to take a van into a marginalized community to train inclined individuals to use photography to document their lives. The foundation will be providing awards for two graduating students in photography at the National Institute of Design (NID). The foundation will be supporting to the Chennai Photo Biennale (CPB) education program to conduct workshops for students from private and public schools.
MNF will be sponsoring the panel of photographers from India / South Asia at the SPE 2020 Houston Conference, and the supporting SPE.
In 2020 the MurthyNAYAK Foundation will launch a new media project - the online resource India Photographed. The site will be a source for news and events on Indian photography, listing exhibition and grant opportunities, places to study photography, and showcasing portfolios and interviews with Indian photographers. The site will also announce multiple grants from the MurthyNAYAK Foundation for photo-related projects.
Encouragement and financial support are important to artists who have the talent and the courage to hold a magnifying glass before unpleasantness and a mirror to the face of society. By funding specific projects of filmmakers, photographers, and other artists, MNF aims to highlight important issues, transforming ignorance and apathy into concern and action. If a picture was once worth a thousand words, film and social media have increased that exponentially. It is our goal to support emerging artists producing socially relevant work that will raise awareness, sustain involvement, and ignite social change. In order to make the most effective use of MNF's resources, grant making focuses on specific, short-term projects. (MNF has a 501(c)(3) designation in the U.S.)