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El Anatsui, Strips of Earth's Skin, 2008

El Anatsui Awarded Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at Venice Biennale

El Anatsui has been selected to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the fifty-sixth Venice Biennale. The biennial’s board, chaired by Paolo Baratta, chose Anatsui with the recommendation of the festival’s curator Okwui Enwezor.

“El Anatsui is perhaps the most significant living African artist working on the continent today,” said Baratta, citing his “originality of artistic vision, his long-term commitment to formal innovation, and his assertion through his work of the place of Africa’s artistic and cultural traditions in international contemporary art.”

The Ghanaian sculptor has shown work at the 2007 Venice Biennale, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In addition, Susanne Ghez was announced winner of the Special Golden Lion for Services to the Arts. Said the board, “Ghez has played a pioneering role in the field by introducing and giving young artists such as Jeff Wall, Mike Kelley, Isa Genzken, Thomas Struth, and Kara Walker their first museum exhibitions.”

The Biennale also announced the jury of its fifty-sixth edition: This year's jurors are Naomi Beckwith (USA), Sabine Breitwieser (Austria), Mario Codognato (Italy), Ranjit Hoskote (India), and Yongwoo Lee (South Korea).

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