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Hiwa K. Photo: Sarhang Hars.
Hiwa K. Photo: Sarhang Hars.

Hiwa K Wins 2019 Hector Prize

Sculptor and installation artist Hiwa K has been awarded this year’s Hector Prize for Contemporary Art, which is administered by the Kunsthalle Mannheim and the HW & J. Hector Foundation every three years. He will receive around $22,800 and will mount an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany.

Ulrike Lorenz, director of the Kunsthalle Mannheim, praised the formal, narrative, and anthropological qualities of Hiwa K’s video-based and sculptural works and noted how the artist effectively confronts contemporary social debates. He emphasized that his practice is aligned with the Kunsthalle Mannheim’s philosophy. “It is this form of confrontation that the new Kunsthalle is seeking—a getting-involved and will-to-permeate society,” Lorenz said. The institution opened its new building in June 2018.

The prize’s jury comprised Antonia Alampi, artistic codirector of SAVVY Contemporary, the Laboratory of Form-Ideas in Berlin; Sebastian Baden, curator of contemporary art at the Kunsthalle Mannheim; Andreas Beitin, director of the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen, Germany; John Feldmann, a member of the Hector Foundation’s board of trustees; Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin; Thomas Köllhofer, curator of the Graphic Collection at the Kunsthalle Mannheim; and Mirjam Varadinis, curator at the Kunsthaus Zürich.

In a statement, the jury said: “Hiwa K, who had to flee Iraq as a Kurd, deals in his work with the great challenges of our time: migration, questions of belonging and the topic of nationalism. Based on his own story, he manages to convincingly translate these complex questions conceptually as well as formally and to create works of deep humanity.”

Established in 1997, the Hector Prize supports artists between thirty-five and fifty years old who reside in Germany and who work with sculpture, object art, and multimedia installations. Previous recipients include Nairy Baghramian, Gunda Förster, Alicja Kwade, Tobias Rehberger, and Florian Slotawa.