Kuwaiti-Puerto Rican artist Alia Farid wins the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award

Henie Onstad Kunstsenter—near Oslo, Norway—recently announced that Alia Farid is the recipient of The Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award 2023, one of the most significant art awards in the world.

“Art is an important part of thinking and understanding things. Without it, life would be one-dimensional. I live in a society that is ambivalent about supporting art and culture, so having the endorsement of the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme really means a lot to me,” said Alia Farid upon receiving the news about the award.

The work of Kuwaiti-Puerto Rican artist Alia Farid brings together a variety of media including writing, drawing, film and sculpture, giving visibility to narratives obscured by hegemony. She has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Chisenhale Gallery (London, UK) and CAC Passerelle (Brest, France), and is amongst the shortlisted artists for the 2023 Artes Mundi Prize.

Presented biannually, The Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award (LWAAP) is intended to mark a significant milestone in an artist’s career and is selected by an international jury of experts. The award consists of three key elements: an artistic honorarium of 100,000 USD; an exhibition at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter; and an acquisition budget to include the artist’s work in Henie Onstad’s permanent collection.

“We are incredibly proud to announce Alia Farid as the recipient of the award. Her extraordinary practice across multiple media raises awareness of highly important topics in our time whilst carrying a powerful aesthetic and an embedded materiality and sociality that often results in large-scale works,” said Caroline Ugelstad, Director of Collection and Exhibition and Chief Curator at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, on behalf of the jury.

Alia Farid is the third award recipient, following Guadalupe Maravilla in 2021 and Otobong Nkanga in 2019. Farid’s exhibition at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter will open in September 2024, and will be the first presentation of her work in the Nordic region.

“We are proud to welcome Alia Farid into the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme and present her work in Norway for the first time. Her work is unique and important in these challenging times, drawing attention to significant questions about social and environmental landscapes. She engages with migration and marginal histories across borders by finding connections and showing us how our stories are interconnected. Her work speaks to recurring situations across the world, sending a powerful message that has the potential to be an important catalyst for change,” said Paulina Wilhelmsen, Jury member and Founder of the award.

Alia Farid was selected as the recipient of The Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award by an international jury comprising: María Inés Rodríguez, editor of Tropical Papers and Curator At Large at MASP, São Paulo; Michelle Kuo, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, New York; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director of MACBA, Barcelona; Paulina Rider Wilhelmsen, Founder of LWAAP and Wilstar Social Impact, Oslo, and Tate International Council Member; Caroline Ugelstad, Director of Collection and Exhibition and Chief Curator at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo; and Tone Hansen, former Director of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, newly appointed Director of MUNCH, Oslo, and Founder of LWAAP. 

Regarding the selection, the jury further stated:

“Alia Farid’s complex work mediates between the past and the present and, in a poetic processing, draws out omitted histories that push against standard narratives. She explores questions of conflict and control and how power and violence are inflicted on nature and people. We have high expectations for Alia Farid’s further activities and believe LWAAP can contribute to her production and strong social commitment at a timely point in her artistic vocation.”

Alia Farid (b.1985) lives and works in Kuwait and Puerto Rico. She has had solo exhibitions in Kunsthalle Basel, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Kunstinstituut Melly (Rotterdam), and Portikus (Frankfurt am Main). Recent and upcoming group shows include participation in the Whitney Biennial, Bienal de São Paulo, Gwangju Biennale, Sharjah Biennial, Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011 in MoMA PS1, Yokohama Triennale and Asia Pacific Triennial. She has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Chisenhale Gallery and CAC Passerelle, and is amongst the shortlisted artists for 2023 Artes Mundi Prize.

Alia Farid has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from la Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico (San Juan), a Master of Science in Visual Studies from the Visual Arts Program in MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts), and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies and Critical Theory from the Programa d’Estudis Independents MACBA (Barcelona).

The Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme is a partnership between the Lise and Arne Wilhelmsen family and the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter. It was established to continue and honour Lise Wilhelmsen’s (1936–2019) commitment to the visual arts. The family’s commitment to the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter is confirmed for the subsequent 16 editions, spanning 32 years, with the intention of a further extension. 

For further information, please contact:

Matthew Brown | matthew@sam-talbot.com | +44 (0) 7989 446557
Therese Manus | tm@hok.no | +47 48 06 44 62

[Photo above: Alia Farid, by Johanne Nyborg. Courtesy Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.]

For more information, see https://kommunikasjon.ntb.no/pressemelding/alia-farid-is-the-2023-recipient-of-the-lise-wilhelmsen-art-award?publisherId=17847201&releaseId=17961518

Also see https://artreview.com/alia-farid-wins-100k-lise-wilhelmsen-art-award/ and https://www.thenationalnews.com/arts-culture/2023/03/30/kuwaiti-puerto-rican-artist-alia-farid-awarded-100000-as-winner-of-norwegian-art-prize/

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