Franco-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada was presented with the Queen Sonja Print Award, the world’s most important award for graphic art, by Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway during an awards ceremony at the New Munch Museum in Oslo.
The jury praised the work of Yto Barrada
“continuous search for new forms of expression, pushing the limits of his own practice and our understanding of printmaking and graphic art”.
For the 2022 edition, the price has increased to NOK 1 million (around £83,000), which is intended to support the artist’s future development, with half of the price going towards exhibition production costs and from the catalog.
Her Majesty Queen Sonja also presented two other awards: the QSPA Lifetime Achievement Award to South African artist William Kentridge to celebrate his contribution to graphic art and printmaking; and the QSPA Inspirational Award to the young Sami artist, Meerke Vekterli.
The 2022 Jury: Rachel Kent, Pablo del Val and Qiu Zhijie.
Artists are nominated by curators, museum directors and other artists from around the world. The nominees reflect the breadth of contemporary printmaking today, ranging from traditional forms to new approaches involving installation, collage and performance.
The Queen Sonja Print Award
Yto Barrada – Winner, Queen Sonja Print Award
Yto Barrada (Moroccan, French, born in 1971 in Paris – lives between Tangier and New York) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work – photography, film, sculpture, prints, publishing and installations – began by exploring the situation in her hometown, Tangier. His work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Center Pompidou (Paris ), at the Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the Venice Biennale 2007 and 2011. She was Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year in 2011, after which her exhibition RIFFS went on to tour extensively. Barrada is also the founding director of the Cinémathèque de Tanger.
The jury is deeply impressed by Yto Barrada’s multidisciplinary practice where printmaking, prints or reproduction methods are used with effortless ease to serve conceptual purposes. Informed by postcolonial thought and socio-political concerns, the artist tackles subjects of identity, urban development, nature or collective memory. His eclectic use of traditional printmaking techniques such as woodcut, screen printing or typography, as well as risograph prints and different photo printing techniques, allows him to work simultaneously with text, images and more abstract patterns. . Barrada studies archival practices, poster traditions, institutionalized narratives, and propaganda production, to create real and imagined stories. There is a poignant playfulness and curiosity in his multi-faceted artistic output. The jury is fascinated by Barrada’s ongoing search for new forms of expression, pushing the boundaries of his own practice and our understanding of printmaking and graphic art.
The Queen Sonja Print Award
The prize has become the world’s largest prize for graphic art and is awarded every two years to an ambitious and promising artist who has excelled in the field of printmaking. A wide range of international professionals, curators, artists and art institutions nominate talented artists from around the world for this prestigious award.
The nominees reflect the breadth of contemporary printmaking across the world, ranging from traditional forms to new approaches involving installation, collage and performance. No printing technique or mode of expression is to be excluded as long as the printing element is apparent. There is no age limit, but older and clearly established artists will not be considered for this award.
The winner receives a cash prize of NOK 1 million and a stay at the Atelje Larsen art studio in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Queen Sonja Print Award Winners:
2022: Yto Barrada, Morocco/France
2020: Ciara Phillips, Canada/UK
2018: Emma Nishimura, Canada
2016: Tauba Auerbach, USA
2014: Svend-Allan Sørensen, Denmark
2012: Tiina Kivinen, Finland
Mark Westall is the founder and editor of FAD magazine, founder and co-editor of Art of Conversation and founder of the @worldoffad platform