Tony Gum at Christopher Moller Gallery’s booth, # S-105. Photo: Charles Roussel. Courtesy of

Tony Gum Awarded 2017 Miami Beach Pulse Prize

On Saturday, December 9, the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair announced that Tony Gum received the 2017 Miami Beach Pulse Prize, a $2,500 award given to an artist exhibiting in a solo booth at the fair.

For the thirteenth edition of Pulse Miami Beach, led by the fair’s new director, Katelijne De Backer, Gum was selected by a jury comprising independent curator Lolita Cros; Kathryn Mikesell, the founder of the Fountainhead Residency; Tommy Ralph Pace, the associate director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; Roya Sachs, a curator at the Lever House Art Collection and the artistic director of Spring Place; and curator Piper Marshall.

“Pulse Art Fair’s commitment to presenting solo artist projects provides critical exposure for young and under-recognized artists,” Pace stated. Mikesell added, “I was very happy to see the tremendous diversity in the artists represented and the mediums in which they worked.”

Represented by the South African–based Christopher Moller Gallery, Gum presented a series of five large portraits, titled “Ode to She.” The paintings, which were completed at the beginning of South Africa’s 2017 commemorations for their national women’s month, explore what it means to be a Xhosa woman. “Through this work, I want to reiterate the power and representation of each woman, acknowledging all the women I have encountered throughout my journey,” Gum said. “So I needed it to be a ‘poem,’ a ‘song,’ ‘a letter to she . . . and I don’t mean ‘She’ in the gender confined or prescriptive sense. I speak of She, the Being, who understands He/She to be a Force, like nature, a person who has been beaten, battered but is still able to rise.”