Kapwani Kiwanga Wins 2022 Zurich Art Prize

Monday, November 29, 2021
Kapwani Kiwanga Wins 2022 Zurich Art Prize

Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd have announced the 15th winner of the internationally renowned Zurich Art Prize for 2022, and it's been awarded to Canadian-French artist Kapwani Kiwanga.

Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd have announced the 15th winner of the internationally renowned Zurich Art Prize for 2022, and the art award goes to Canadian-French artist Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978 in Hamilton, Canada, lives and works in Paris). The prize is endowed with CHF 100,000, comprising a CHF 80,000 budget for the production of a solo exhibition and CHF 20,000 in prize money.

The Zurich Art Prize jury was particularly enthusiastic about Kapwani Kiwanga’s ability to translate her research on socially relevant topics into appealing visual propositions. Kiwanga’s works offer various readings, enabling observers to approach them from a material or phenomenological perspective, or with regard to the history of art and culture.

Before devoting herself to art, Kapwani Kiwanga studied anthropology and comparative religion in Canada. Her artistic practice, rooted in research relating to the humanities and social sciences, began in the mid-2000s and comprises sculpture, performance, video and installation. Kiwanga’s projects take her to archives. She focuses on the periphery of narratives on underrepresented histories and is particularly interested in issues involving historical and contemporary power imbalances, as well as in knowledge generation. The resulting works are captivating, due to the materials selected according to their socio-historical importance, such as beaded textiles, sugar cane paper, and plants, but also due to their lean aesthetics and clear language of forms.

For her project Flowers for Africa, for example, which has been ongoing since 2012, Kiwanga searches archives for visual material that was created in connection with African countries’ respective paths to independence. Here, she is interested in the floral arrangements accompanying diplomatic meetings or ceremonies. Based on historical photographs, the artist commissions florists to prepare floral arrangements that are later presented in the exhibition space on walls, on pedestals or even as free-standing archways. During the exhibition, they wilt, making it possible to experience the fragility of historical processes. “At first,” says Kiwanga, “the country is enthusiastic and hopeful for their future as an independent state, distancing themselves from their colonial history, yet this enthusiasm gradually fades with the realities and difficulties of every day, whether in terms of politics, economy or society.”

Kapwani Kiwanga’s solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv will be on view from October 27, 2022.

 

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Roman Pyatkovka, “VELVET SADNESS”, (1996), photograph glued on velvet passe-partout (paper).

Roman Pyatkovka, “VELVET SADNESS”, (1996), photograph glued on velvet passe-partout (paper).

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