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Sonya Yong James, I know a song of the colors where I live, does it know a song of me?​, 2019. Courtesy of Artadia.

Artadia Names 2019 Atlanta Award Winners

Artadia, the nonprofit organization that supports visual artists based in seven US cities with unrestricted, merit-based awards, announced today that Danielle Deadwyler​ and ​Sonya Yong James​ were named the winners of this year’s Atlanta awards. They will both receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds. This is Artadia’s seventh year providing support to artists in Atlanta. Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco are the other states that benefit from Artadia’s award program.

Deadwyler, an interdisciplinary artist and native of Atlanta, primarily works in filmmaking and performance. Through experimental and theatrical exhibition structures, Deadwyler often addresses the empowerment and degradation of the black female body with her gender-centric works. A sculptor and multimedia artist, James explores ideas of physical devotion and ritual experienced through the creation of labor-intensive works that incorporate fibrous materials such as sheep wool and horsehair.

In the first round of evaluations, Gabriel de Guzman, curator and director of exhibitions at Smack Mellon, New York; Ike Onyewuenyi, curatorial assistant at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Louise Shaw, an Atlanta-based curator, selected the five finalists, which included Bojana Ginn, Gerald Lovell, and Courtney McClellan. In the second round of evaluations, Gregory Harris, associate curator of photography at the High Museum of Art, and Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, director of the Spelman College Museum of Art, joined Shaw to conduct studio visits with the shortlisted artists.

“The jurying process this year was quite competitive and we have great admiration for all the finalists who collectively embody the layers and vibrancy of the community here in Atlanta,” Shaw and Harris said in a joint statement. “The two awardees represent distinct practices that demonstrate a commitment to both artistic excellence and rigorous thinking about the creative process. Sonya’s installations emphasize the deeply contemplative potential of craft, elevating humble materials to spiritual planes. Danielle’s compelling performances and videos connect personal narratives with larger issues of social justice and the lived experience of African American women.”

Danielle Deadwyler, BustitOpen​, 2017. Courtesy of Artadia.

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