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Pollock-Krasner Foundation Awards Inaugural Prize for Creativity to Gideon Mendel

Chairman and CEO of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Charles C. Bergman, announced today that the newly established Pollock Prize for Creativity will be awarded to photographer Gideon Mendel. The foundation’s president, Samuel Sachs II, said, “I congratulate Gideon Mendel, who creates powerful images and uses his art to raise awareness of critical issues and encourage change.”

In order to receive the annual award, an artist’s work must demonstrate high standards of creativity and demonstrate how art can impact society. Along with the recognition of winning, each artist will receive a cash prize of $50,000.

Born in Johannesburg, Mendel first earned distinction covering Apartheid-era South Africa. His subjects include people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa and throughout the world. In the ongoing series “Through Positive Eyes,” Mendel steps out from behind the camera, handing it to his subjects so they can document their own realities. His well-known series “Drowning World,” which documents the effects of climate change, will be exhibited at Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum beginning in May.

“It’s a huge honor to receive this award named after Jackson Pollock, an artist I’ve always loved for his freedom in breaking barriers,” Mendel said. “Because my own work increasingly straddles the border between art, documentation and activism, it’s all the more important to me that the prize is given not for photography but for creativity in general.”