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Oct 31 2019

Doris Salcedo Wins Nomura Art Award

by Pamela Wong

DORIS SALCEDO is the winner of the inaugural Nomura Art Award. Portrait by Daniel Mordzinski. Courtesy the artist and Nomura Art Prize.

On October 31, at a gala held in Shanghai, Japan-based finance company Nomura Holdings announced Colombian visual artist and sculptor Doris Salcedo as the winner of the inaugural Nomura Art Award. She will receive USD 1 million—the largest cash prize available in the world of contemporary art—to be used in whole or in part to create a new project. 

Born in 1958 in Bogotá, and having witnessed the over-five-decade-long civil war in Colombia, Salcedo grapples with collective trauma and processes of mourning through performances, textiles, and installations that often unfold in public spaces. For instance, in 2002, for her performance-installation Noviembre 6 y 7 (November 6 and 7, 2002), she lowered 280 wooden chairs against the exterior of the Palace of Justice over 53 hours—the exact duration of the 1985 siege at Bogotá’s Supreme Court building, when Marxist rebels clashed with military forces. When voters rejected a 2016 referendum aimed at ending the civil war, she created Sumando Ausencias (Adding Absences, 2016) in collaboration with the Museo de la Universidad Nacional. The project saw her working with volunteers to sew a monumental 7,000-meter-long banner in Bogotá’s main square, Plaza Bolivar. The fabric was covered by names of the conflict’s victims, written in ash.

Salcedo’s work was recognized as being “of major cultural significance” by an international jury. This panel comprised Doryun Chong, deputy director and chief curator of M+, Hong Kong; Kathy Halbriech, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York; Yuko Hasegawa, artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Max Hollein, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England; Allan Schwartzman, founder and principal of Art Agency; and the late Okwui Enwezor, a widely-respected independent curator, critic, and writer.

Earlier this year, on May 21, Nomura announced Cheng Ran and Cameron Rowland as the winners of the Nomura Emerging Artist Awards. They each received USD 100,000 as support for their upcoming projects. 

Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor. 

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