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Nalini Malani. Photo: The Fundació Joan Miró.

Nalini Malani Wins 2019 Joan Miró Prize

The Fundació Joan Miró and the arm of the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation that supports social work and various initiatives have awarded this year’s Joan Miró Prize to Indian artist Nalini Malani. With a practice that encompasses film, photography, video art, and performance, Malani is the seventeenth recipient of the award, which comes with a cash prize of $78,000.

Malani’s work is heavily influenced by her experiences as a refugee of the Partition of India. She often weaves references from various cultures across the East and the West in her pieces, such as in her series “Stories Retold,” which revisits fictional and mythological tales and characters such as Alice in Wonderland and Medea, the wife of the Greek hero Jason. Solo exhibitions of her work have been staged at institutions such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Castello di Rivoli, the New Museum in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.

The jury—comprising Magnus af Petersens, Nimfa Bisbe, Iwona Blazwick, Marko Daniel, Alfred Pacquement, and João Ribas—acknowledged her long-standing commitment to the silenced and the dispossessed all over the world, most particularly women, when it selected Malani for the honor. It also noted that her immersive installations and personal iconography reflect a profound knowledge of ancient mythologies and a bold condemnation of contemporary injustices.

Awarded every two years, the Joan Miró Prize recognizes the present-day work of artists who show the same spirit of exploration, innovation, commitment, and freedom that characterized the Surrealist artist’s life and work. Since it was launched in 2007, the award has been given to Olafur Eliasson, Pipilotti Rist, and Kader Attia, among others.

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