Iman Issa (b.1979, Cairo) has been unanimously named winner of the first Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award for Contemporary Art, an initiative of Barcelona-based Dutch writer and arts patron Han Nefkens and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). The award consists of a prize of 50,000 euros: 20,000 in the form of artist fees, and 30,000 to be used towards the production of a new work that will be presented in the city of Barcelona.
The goal of this new award is to help strengthen the careers of artists who have a solid body of work behind them but still require institutional support in order to gain full recognition from the international community.
The project by Iman Issa will be produced by MACBA in the coming months and exhibited in 2013.
The jury cited the following reasons for its decision:
1. Iman Issa has achieved a level of visual and critical maturity that is rare in artists of her generation.
2. She has a complex, prolific body of work and a highly developed formal sense expressed through the skilled use of various media.
3. Her artistic and intellectual trajectory testifies to a constantly developing artistic practice and critical vision, a fertile imagination and a capacity to engage, question and challenge the viewer.
Iman Issa lives and works between Cairo and New York. Her recent group and solo shows include The Ungovernables, New Museum, New York (2012); Seeing is Believing, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011); Material, Rodeo, Istanbul (2011); Short Stories, Sculpture Center, New York (2011), and Propaganda by Monuments, Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo (2011). Her videos have been screened at numerous festivals and venues, including Transmediale, Berlin; Tate Modern, London; Spacex, Exeter; Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool; and Bidoun Artists Cinema, Art Dubai.
The members of the jury of the first Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award are: Han Nefkens (Barcelona), President of the jury and Founder of the Han Nefkens Foundation; Iwona Blazwick (London), Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery; Adriano Pedrosa (São Paulo), independent curator, writer and critic; Christine Tohmé (Beirut), curator and cultural activist; and Bartomeu Marí (Barcelona), Director of MACBA.
Given that one of the goals of this new award is to set up networks and promote mutual understanding among five continents, a group of ten scouts scattered around the world were asked to submit a list of finalists to the jury. These scouts were: Defne Ayas (the Netherlands), Zdenka Badovinac (Slovenia), Abdellah Karroum (Morocco), Sylvia Kouvali (Turkey), Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa), Victoria Noorthoorn (Argentina), Manu Park (South Korea), Beatriz Pérez (Colombia), Christoph Storz (India) and Barthélémy Togo (Cameroon/Paris).
First Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award for Contemporary Art:
Winner: Iman Issa. Co-organisers: Han Nefkens Foundation and Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Presentation: The award was presented yesterday (18 December) at a public event at MACBA, with Iman Issa, Han Nefkens, Bartomeu Marí, and prominent figures from the art world and civil society. Exhibition: The new work produced by Iman Issa will be exhibited in Barcelona in 2013. Second Award: The next edition of the Award will be held in 2014.