The Whitechapel Gallery, Collezione Maramotti and Max Mara have announced the five artists shortlisted for the ninth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Rebecca Bellantoni, Bhajan Hunjan, Onyeka Igwe, Zinzi Minott and Dominique White.
This weekend, the artists traveled to the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy, for the announcement and to celebrate the inauguration of the significant work The Age/L’Età, by the eighth winner of the Prize, Emma Talbot. L’Age/L’Età is filming from the Whitechapel Gallery, where it was unveiled this summer.
The artists were shortlisted by a jury made up of gallery owner Rozsa Farkas, artist Claudette Johnson, writer Derica Shields and collector Maria Sukkar. Generally led by the director of the Whitechapel Gallery, the jury for the 2022-24 edition was chaired by the prize’s guest curator, Bina von Stauffenberg. The winner will be announced in spring 2023.
The Max Mara Art Prize for Women, in conjunction with the Whitechapel Gallery, is a biannual prize established in 2005. It is the only visual art prize of its kind and aims to promote and support artists who identify as UK-based women, enabling them to develop their potential with the gift of time and space. The winner is awarded a six-month Italian residency tailored to the artist and their winning proposal for the prize. During the residency organized by the Collezione Maramotti, the artist has the opportunity to realize an ambitious new project presented in major solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, UK and at the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, in Italy, which then acquired it.
On behalf of the jury, Bina von Stauffenberg, Jury President of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, said: “Today, as women’s rights continue to be challenged, it could not be more urgent or more relevant to ensure that women artists are defended. , and heard on the world stage. For more than a decade, this unique award has successfully enabled female-identifying artists at different stages of their careers to develop their potential in extraordinary ways. Through a six-month Italian residency and the resources to create a major new commission, he provides critical time, space and support.
Artists shortlisted for the Max Mara Art Prize for Women 2022-24
Rebecca Bellantoni (born in 1981)
Rebecca Bellantoni is a London-based artist who draws inspiration from everyday events and abstracts them. Investigate, through the layered lens of black women’s writing (fiction and non-fiction), metaphysics, comparative theology, philosophy, religion and spirituality and their aesthetics; it delicately separates the concept of accepted/expected “real” and experiential “real”; look at how these removed boundaries can provide meditative experiences and portals to self, collective reasoning, and healing thought and action.
Bellantoni’s current research and production project, CRY: Concrete Regenerative Yearnings, reflects on the city, its multiple worlds and materials (industrial and natural), the psyche, soul and body of the city dweller. Her research is inspired by Katherine McKittrick’s idea of the geography of black women, created through negotiations of space, place and lived experience and the writings of Edouard Glissant on the role of landscape and of the environment built on the psyche and the cultural production of a colonized people. Her practice is broad and encompasses moving images, installation, performance, photography, textiles, printmaking, sculpture, sound text and ceramics.
Recent works have been presented at/with In the house of my love, Brent Biennial (London, UK, 2022); Frieze lives (London, UK, 2021); Aggregates, Ausstellungsraum Klingental (Basel, Switzerland, 2021); Coalition of Care, PUBLICs (Helsinki, Finland, 2019); La Manutention, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France, 2019; in collaboration with Rowdy SS).
Bhajan Hunjan (born in 1956)
Bhajan Hunjan came to the UK to train as a painter and printmaker. After graduating from the University of Reading and the Slade School of Art, he became associated with the politics and figurative work of the emerging Black British Art Movement. Since then, she has developed a highly individual visual language of flowing lines, symbolic colors and shapes, repeating patterns and script that draws on both her Sikh heritage and fine art abstraction to encourage viewers to reflect on social, spiritual and emotional environments.
Hunjan works extensively on public art commissions, often in concrete, metal and stone. These are always created through community consultation for site-specific spaces and often in collaboration with other local artists and women’s groups. Important external projects include St Paul’s Way (Tower Hamlets, London, UK, 2012), Town Square (Slough, UK, 2008) and Peepul Center Floorscape (Leicester, UK, 2005). Recent projects include an installation inside the Exbury Egg (2021), made while living in Thamesmead as part of the Bow Arts Artists community in Thamesmead. She is also an engaged artist educator working with youth and families to create site-specific temporary and permanent installations.
Bhajan is artist in residence on the Maria Lucia Cattani project and the Runnymede Explore/Stories project with the National Trust.
Onyeka Igwe (born in 1986)
Onyeka Igwe is an artist and researcher working between film and installation, born and based in London, UK. Through her work, Igwe is driven by the question “how do we live together?” with a particular interest in how sensory, spatial and non-canonical modes of knowing can answer this question. She uses embodiment, archives, narration and text to create structural “figure eights”, a form that exposes a multiplicity of narratives.
Igwe’s works have been shown in the UK and overseas at film festivals and galleries. Solo exhibitions include The Miracle on George Green, The High Line (New York, USA, 2022); a so-called archive, LUX (London, UK, 2021); THE REAL STORY IS WHAT’S IN THIS ROOM, Mercer Union (Toronto, Canada, 2021); There Were Two Brothers, Jerwood Arts (London, UK, 2019) and Corrections, with Aliya Pabani, Trinity Square Video (Toronto, Canada, 2018). Recent group exhibitions include Echoes, Haus der Kunst (Munich, Germany, 2022); Reconfigured, Timothy Taylor (New York, USA, 2021); Archives of Resistance, Neue Galerie (Innsbruck, Austria, 2021); New Labor Movements, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts (San Francisco, USA, 2021) and Production Series, KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin, Germany, 2020).
The artist has upcoming commissions with The Common Guild, FLAMIN Productions and is collaborating with Huw Lemmey on his exhibition at Studio Voltaire, London. In addition, she received the New Cinema Award at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival in 2019 (UK), the 2020 Arts Foundation Fellowship Award for Experimental Film (UK), the Foundwork Artist Prize 2021 (USA) and was nominated for the 2022 Jarman Prize (UK).
Zinzi Minott (born in 1986)
Zinzi Minott’s work explores the relationship between dance, body and politics. Minott explores how dance is viewed through the lenses of race, queer culture, gender and class. She is particularly interested in the place of black women’s bodies in form.
As a dancer and filmmaker, she seeks to complicate the boundaries of dance, seeing her live performances, cinematic explorations, prints and objects as different but connected manifestations of dance and results and modes of inquiry based on the body.
Minott is interested in ideas of broken storytelling, disrupted lineage, and how the use of glitch can help us consider notions of racism experienced throughout Black life. She is particularly interested in telling Caribbean stories and highlighting the stories of those who were enslaved during the Atlantic Slave Trade and the resulting Windrush Generation migration.
She is an alumnus of Laban, the first dancer to be artist in residence at the Serpentine Gallery (London, UK, 2018) and the Tate (London, UK, 2017), respectively. She received the Continuing Commission for 2020-2022 (UK), the Jerwood Live Work Award in 2020 (UK) and won the Adrian Howells Award for 2019/2020 (UK). She was recently nominated for the Live Art- Shortlist LIVE 2022 (Finland).
Dominique White (born in 1993)
Dominique White weaves theories of black subjectivity, Afro-pessimism and hydrarchy with the nautical myths of the black diaspora in a term she defines as shipwreck (ed), a reflexive verb and a state of ‘be. White’s sculptures or beacons prophesy the emergence of stateless people; “a [Black] future which has not yet happened, but which must. (Camp 2017 to Yussof 2018).
White lives between Marseille and Essex and often works nomadically. Recent solo exhibitions and presentations include Statements, ArtBasel (Basel, Switzerland, 2022); The Ashes of the Wreck, Triangle (Asterides, Marseille, France, 2022); Hydra Decapita, VEDA (Florence, Italy, 2021-2022); and Blackness in Democracy’s Graveyard, UKS (Oslo, Norway, 2021). Recent group exhibitions include Afterimage at MAXXI L’Aquila (Italy, L’Aquila, 2022-2023); Love at Bold Tendencies (London, UK, 2022); Techno Worlds at Art Quarter Budapest, commissioned by the Goethe-Institut (Travelling) (2021-2025).
White received the Roger Pailhas Prize (Art-O-Rama, France) in 2019 for his solo presentation with VEDA and has received awards from Artangel (UK) and the Henry Moore Foundation (UK) ) in 2020. in residence at Sagrada Mercancía (Chile), Triangle France – Astérides (France) and La Becque (Switzerland) in 2020 and 2021.
Top photo: Clockwise from top left: Rebecca Bellantoni, Bhajan Hunjan, Onyeka Igwe Courtesy Max Mara Art Prize for Women