Thirty selected artworks from the 2019 Call for Entries were on display alongside 2018 VIA Arts Prize winner Hugo Brazão’s solo exhibition ‘Best Foot Backward’ at the Embassy of Brazil in London, between 14th November and 11th December. Jury panel featured director of jaggedart Andrea Harari, sculptor Fernando Casasempre, patron of arts Frances Reynolds, art historian and ESCALA curator Dr Sarah Demelo, Itaú Cultural’s visual arts manager Sofia Fan, and Carlos/Ishikawa’s director Vanessa Carlos. Antonio Tarsis was first prize winner with his multicoloured collage ‘Coloured Exports’, and Alexandre Canonico won second place with his sculpture ‘3 Stops, White Board and Strap’. Estabrak received a special commendation from the jury for her photograph ‘Viver’, and José García Oliva won the People’s Choice Award with his mixed media assemblage ‘Parallel’.
Returning to the theme ‘Dialogues’, 30 selected artworks were on display alongside 2017 VIA Arts Prize winner Susan Phillips’ solo exhibition ‘Constructed Geometries’, between 14th December and 31st January. The jury panel included Will Sorrell of the London Design Biennale; writer and curator Kiki Mazzucchelli; James Nicholls of Maddox Gallery; Irene Due, curator and head of communications at Acute Art; Paulina Korobkiewicz of Bermondsey Project Space; and cultural advisor Sumantro Ghose. Hugo Brazão‘s HIATO was chosen as the first prize winner, inspired by cultural expressions in Madeira. The second place was Graham Guy-Robinson‘s ‘Social Structure’, clearly referencing Hélio Oiticica’s Parangolés with its use of sheet material and the moving body to explore boundaries, visibility, private and public space. The jury gave a special commendation to Sabrina Collares‘ ‘Roots of Brazil’, an 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 rebranded ‘VIA Arts Prize’ – The Visual Ibero-American Arts Prize was based on the theme ‘Dialogues with Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese art’. The jury panel included Aaron Cezar, Alistair Smart, Anderson & Low, Cecilia Brunson and Michael Asbury. They chose Susan Phillips‘ porcelain sculpture ‘no.42-2015’, as the first prize, with its clear references to Latin American Neo Concrete Art. The runner up was Rafael D’Alo’s analog photograph ‘Belo Monte Incidental number 65’, featuring a traditional Amazonian boat on the River Xingu. The prize-winning pieces subsequently toured to Maddox Arts in Mayfair for the Maddox Arts Winter Show.
The 2nd edition, entitled the ‘Ibero-American Arts Award’, marked the beginning of ACALASP’s involvement in the project. The prize attracted a diverse range of entries responding to the theme of ‘Utopias’. The jury consisted of Catherine Petitgas, José María Cano, Marko Daniel, Robert Bound and Nayia Yiakoumaki – all art experts from Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, Monocle Magazine and the wider cultural world. They awarded visual artists Ting Tong Chang and Gwil Hughes with the first and second prizes respectively.
The inaugural edition was the Embassy of Brazil Visual Arts Award. It focused on the cities of London and Rio de Janeiro, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games hosts, and the thematic links between the two. Adrian Locke, Curator of the Royal Academy of Arts; Beth da Matta, Curator and Director of MAMAM (Recife, Brazil); Charles Stewart, CEO of Itau BBA International; Hayle Gadelha, Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Brazil; Marcelo Calero, Secretary of Culture of Rio de Janeiro; and Paul Heritage, Artistic Director of People’s Palace Projects (Queen Mary University) selected 15 works for display in the Sala Brasil.