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Installation view of Lydia Ourahmane’s Land of the Sun, 2014.

Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts Receives $40,000 Ellsworth Kelly Award

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) announced today that the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco has been named the 2019 recipient of the Ellsworth Kelly Award, a $40,000 annual grant that supports museum exhibitions for contemporary artists. The institute will use the funds to stage an exhibition of new work by Algiers-based multidisciplinary artist Lydia Ourahmane in the spring of 2020.

“This award makes it possible for Ourahmane to pursue her most ambitious ideas, and it allows the CCA Wattis Institute to properly introduce our audience to the work of one of the most compelling voices in an emerging generation of artists,” said director and chief curator Anthony Huberman. “Her work embraces contradictions of all sorts and asks challenging questions about vulnerability, belief systems, intuition, and the relationship between politics and abstraction. This exhibition, her first institutional show in the United States, comes at a particularly resonant moment and this award gives her the resources to develop an entirely new body of work.”

Born in Algeria in 1992, Ourahmane lived and worked in London for seventeen years—earning her BFA from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2014—before she returned to Algiers in 2018. Known for her sound installations, text-heavy works, sculpture, and performances, Ourahmane often incorporates her own personal history with themes of displacement and migration. She has previously exhibited her work in international exhibitions such as Manifesta 12 in Palermo, Italy (2018); the New Museum Triennial in New York (2018); and the Fifteenth Istanbul Biennial (2017).

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