The VIA Arts Prize is London’s bespoke visual Ibero-American themed arts competition. It is organised by ACALASP (the Association of Cultural Attachés of Latin America, Spain and Portugal) and is supported by People’s Palace Projects from Queen Mary University of London and Instituto Cervantes.
VIA ARTS PRIZE 2018
30 selected artworks from the 2018 Call for Entries were on display alongside 2017 VIA Arts Prize winner Susan Phillips’ solo exhibition ‘Constructed Geometries’ at the Embassy of Brazil in London, between 14th December and 31st January.
Responding in fascinating and varied ways to the theme ‘Dialogues’, this year’s 30 selected artists were:
Anthony McKerr Juliana Pazutti
Armando Ribeiro Mohammad Barrangi Fashtami
Benjamin John Johnson Olav Lorentzen
Cruz Maria Vallespir Pablo Castañeda Santana
Daniela Galan Pablo Rodriguez Blanco
Fabiola Retamozo Paula Siqueira
Francisco Garcia Peter Dickinson
Graham Guy-Robinson r.a.tinoko
Hugo Brazão Roberto Boettger
Hugo Lami Romina Cristi
Jade Chorkularb Sabrina Collares
Javier Molina Soledad Bustos
Jorge Santos Sylvia Lockhart
José Barbosa Vanessa da Silva
Julian Camilo Victoria Ahrens
The 2018 winner of the VIA Arts Prize was Hugo Brazão, with his large, multi-coloured tapestry ‘HIATO’. It takes inspiration from a fictional 3.9km tunnel connecting two areas of Madeira Island, Portugal, and advocates the creation of links and promotion of dialogues through the occupation of spaces. The piece highlights the importance of embracing complexity and connecting disparate ideas instead of avoiding problematisation, disguising conflicts and postponing the addressing of imminent problems.
The second prize winner was Graham Guy-Robinson with his Hélio Oiticica inspired sculpture ‘Social Structure’. In 1965, collaborating with a samba group from the favela, Hélio Oiticica performed his iconic Parangolé. This combined material objects with the moving body, using the actions of making to confront boundaries, reimagine private and public space, and make the marginalised visible. Like Oiticica’s work, Social Structure uses sheet material and the moving body to explore boundaries, visibility, private and public space. It is based on the orange perforated barriers used on construction sites. Made from mirror polished steel and hazard paint, the surfaces of ‘Social Structures’ interact with the surrounding moving bodies and reinvent our perception of space and the materials which represent urban life.
‘Raízes do Brasil’, a striking sculpture by Brazilian artist Sabrina Collares, was named as the jury’s special commendation. Collares’ piece is a 18th-century Baroque dress inspired by a painting of Carlota Joaquina, the Princess of Spain and Queen of Portugal (1785), by the Spanish artist Mariano Salvador Maella. The artist covered the dress in thousands of small pieces of MDF, and made it to scale to fit a 10-year-old child: the same age that Carlota got married to Dom João VI. The dress is attached to the plinth by roots, which represent the conservatism and reactionary ideas which sink into the ground rather than reaching new horizons.
The Prize is generously sponsored by Itaú, and the 1st and 2nd prize winners receive £5,000 and £2,000 respectively. The prize winners were chosen by an impressive jury panel, comprised of seven prolific art practitioners:
- James Nicholls, managing director of Maddox Gallery
- Irene Due, curator and head of communications at Acute Art
- Ting-Tong Chang, artist and winner of VIA Arts Prize 2016
- Kiki Mazzucchelli, writer and curator
- Sumantro Ghose, cultural advisor
- Will Sorrell, managing director of London Design Biennale
- Paulina Korobkiewicz, artist and gallery director at Bermondsey Project Space
The People’s Choice Award went to Hugo Lami with ‘Promised Land’. The piece is inspired by the Brazilian Neo-Concrete artist Lygia Pape and, specifically, her series ‘Books’; ‘Boxes’; and ‘Webs’. ‘Promsied Land’ is a red and blue incubated cube containing seeds, planted amongst blocks and a plastic tree, to grow and decay in the passage of time. According to the artist, Promised Land aims to evoke the dialogue between humankind, nature and technology. Lami further links the Prize’s theme ‘Dialogues’ to Lygia Pape’s wish to “invent a new language… to know the world”.