The Japan Art Association and Lord Patten of Barnes, Praemium Imperiale’s International Advisorin the UK, have today announced the recipients of the 2019 Praemium Imperiale Awards:

Sculpture: Mona HATOUM (British/Palestine)

Music: Anne-Sophie MUTTER (Germany)

Painting: William KENTRIDGE (South Africa)

Theatre/Film: BANDO Tamasaburo (Japan)

Architecture: Tod WILLIAMS & Billie TSIEN (USA)

Each Laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million Yen (c. £100,000). The awards will be presented by His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, Honorary Patron of the Japan Art Association and younger brother of the Emperor Emeritus of Japan, in a ceremony in Japan this October. In addition to the Praemium Imperiale Awards, the 5 million Yen (c. £33,000) Grant for Young Artists has been awarded to Démos, the musical education programme under Philharmonie de Paris that provides musical education to children between 7 to 12 in underserved localities or rural areas in France.

Mona Hatoum is the latest British artist to receive the Praemium Imperiale Award in Sculpture since Antony Gormley in 2013. Born in Beirut into a Palestinian family, Hatoum has been based in London since the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. Hatoum has developed a language in which familiar, domestic everyday objects are often transformed into foreign, threatening and dangerous things, as well as using cartography to explore instability and precariousness in today’s political landscape. She has been the subject of large survey exhibition at Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tate Modern (London) and Kiasma (Helsinki).A major exhibition of her new works is currently on show at White Cube gallery in London.

Lord Patten remarked: ‘However uncertain things look politically and economically around the world, the work of great artists reminds us of the important things in life. I am delighted in the year before a great deal of attention focusses on Japan during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Praemium Imperiale reminds us once again of the important contribution that Japan has made in honouring the arts. This year’s laureates of the Praemium Imperiale have all made a significant contribution to our civilisation.’

Since 1989, the Praemium Imperiale Awards have been given annually in the categories of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film to cover fields of achievement not represented by the Nobel Prizes. The Laureates are chosen from a list submitted by six International Advisors to the Japan Art Association.While maintaining the Awards' original mandate to select candidates who have made a major international impact in their particular field, the International Advisors for the Awards and their committees have been looking beyond their national boundaries for ground-breaking artists to recommend to the Japan Art Association.

Previous British winners include David Hockney, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, David Chipperfield, Judi Dench, Anthony Caro and Tony Cragg.


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