The Franco-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada was presented with The Queen Sonja Print Award, the world’s most important prize for graphic art, by Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway at an Award Ceremony at the new Munch Museum in Oslo.
The jury praised Yto Barrada’s
“continuous search for new forms of expressions, pushing the boundaries of her own practice and our understanding of printmaking and graphic art”.
For the 2022 edition, the prize has increased to NOK 1 million (Approx £83,000) which aims to support the artist’s future development with half of the award earmarked for exhibition and catalogue production costs.
HM Queen Sonja also presented two other awards: The QSPA Lifetime Achievement Award to South African artist William Kentridge to celebrate his lifetime 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 fellow artists from all over 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, The Queen Sonja Print Award
Yto Barrada (Moroccan, French, b.1971, Paris – lives between Tangier & New York) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work — including photography, film, sculpture, prints, publishing and installations — began by exploring the situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), The Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale. She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of the Cinémathèque de Tanger.
The jury is deeply impressed by Yto Barrada’s multidisciplinary practice where printmaking, printed matter or methods of reproduction are used with effortless ease to serve conceptual purposes. Informed by postcolonial thought and socio-political concerns, the artist engages in topics of identity, urban development, nature or collective memory. Her eclectic use of traditional printmaking techniques such as woodblock, serigraphy or letterpress printing, as well as risograph prints and different photo printing techniques, allows her the flexibility to simultaneously work with text, image and more abstract motifs. Barrada investigates archival practices, poster traditions, institutionalized narratives and propaganda production, to create real and imaginary stories. There is a poignant playfulness and curiosity in her multifaceted artistic production. The jury is fascinated by Barrada’s continuous search for new forms of expressions, pushing the boundaries of her own practice and our understanding of printmaking and graphic art.
The Queen Sonja Print Award
The Award has become the world’s leading award for graphic art and is presented every other year 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 all over the world for this prestigious prize.
The nominees reflect the breadth of contemporary printmaking around the world, ranging from traditional forms to new approaches involving installation, collage and performance. No printing technique or way of expression is to be excluded as long as the printing element is apparent. There is no age limit, but older and clearly long-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.
Winners of The Queen Sonja Print Award:
2022: Yto Barrada, Morroco/France
2020: Ciara Phillips, Canada/UK
2018: Emma Nishimura, Canada
2016: Tauba Auerbach, USA
2014: Svend-Allan Sørensen, Denmark
2012: Tiina Kivinen, Finland