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Guadalupe Maravilla Wins $100K Lise Wilhelmsen Award

Guadalupe Maravilla Wins $100K Lise Wilhelmsen Award

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Guadalupe Maravilla Wins $100K Lise Wilhelmsen Award

Multidisciplinary artist Guadalupe Maravilla, who once floated across the Rio Grande aboard his own artwork and organized an all-Latina motorcycle gang chorus, has been named the winner of the $100,000 Lise Wilhelmsen Award, one of the largest art prizes in the world. The award is administered by the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Sandvika, Norway. The institution will acquire the El Salvador–born artist’s pieces for its collection and will host an exhibition of his work beginning on January 14, 2022, and running through April 30.Maravilla, who lives and works in Brooklyn, came to the United States at the age of eight, an undocumented immigrant and an unaccompanied minor fleeing the civil war in El Salvador. Nearly three decades later, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent a series of chemotherapy and radiation treatments while exploring alternative forms of healing. The two traumatic events have been central themes of his wide-ranging practice, which embraces sculpture, installations, wall drawings, outdoor plantings, and healing “sound baths.” Maravilla frequently makes collaborative works, calling others to action or elevating those who might otherwise remain unseen. The artist is a professor at Tufts University and the recipient of multiple grants and honors, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Creative Capital Grant, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Award. Recent solo museum exhibitions include “Portals” at the ICA Miami in 2019 and “Planet Abuelx” at New York’s Socrates Sculpture Park.“Guadalupe Maravilla’s interdisciplinary practice constantly refers to his experiences of exile and illness, migration and healing, identity and displacement,” noted the prize jury. “Yet [his] work is also far more than his life. Building on personal narratives but venturing far afield into pre-Columbian mythologies, collective memory, geopolitical history, and material culture, the artist constructs artworks that act.” The jury additionally pointed to Maravilla’s efforts in response to the Covid-19 crisis, applauding him for organizing “mutual aid work across the city supporting undocumented and immigrant communities with food and money, a continuation of his ongoing commitment to immigrant communities.”The Lise Wilhelmsen Award is aimed at fostering social responsibility in future generations. It was established in 2019, with the first iteration going to Nigerian-born multidisciplinary artist Otobong Nkanga.

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