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  • Aug 11, 2023

Weekly News Roundup: August 11, 2023

(Left) Portrait of Iwona Blazwick. Photo by Christa Holka. Courtesy the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. (Right) Portrait of Defne Ayas. Courtesy the Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

Criticism Over Istanbul Biennial Curator Selection Process

On August 3, the Istanbul Biennial announced the appointment of Iwona Blazwick as curator of its 2024 edition. However, criticism over the selection process and concerns over a conflict of interest have surfaced after The Art Newspaper reported on August 10 that the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and the Arts (IKSV) had rejected the Biennial’s advisory board’s choice. Earlier this year, Berlin-based curator Defne Ayas was unanimously recommended by the Istanbul Biennial’s advisory board to lead the event. However, IKSV reportedly rejected Ayas and instead appointed Blazwick, a member of the advisory board, as curator of the next edition. Three members of the Biennial advisory panel resigned, as well as Blazwick. IKSV’s decision elicited criticism from art professionals in Turkey, as many suspect that IKSV had rejected Ayas due to potential political sensitivities based on her past projects including the Turkey Pavilion (overseen by IKSV) at the Venice Biennale in 2015 with Armenian-Turkish artist Sarkis. Furthermore, many called for more transparency over IKSV’s selection process, as the foundation’s leadership has yet to clarify the rationale for its rejection of Ayas and subsequent appointment of Blazwick.

A portrait of Anil Revri. Courtesy Aicon Gallery.

Anil Revri, 1967–2023

Indian American artist Anil Revri passed away on July 24 at the age of 67 following a battle with cancer. Born in New Delhi, he studied interior design at the Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai, before moving to the United States and obtaining a BFA in graphic design from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC. His practice was inspired by elements of philosophy such as scriptures and meditation, and he is best known for his abstract geometric forms in series such as Cultural Crossings. Over the course of his career, he held 38 solo exhibitions across India, the US, and Europe, and was the first Indian American to hold a solo show at a major American art institution. Most notably, he was awarded the First Prizes at the 1999 Malta Biennale as well as the Grolla D’oro in Italy in the same year. His works are held in the collections of numerous institutions worldwide, including the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the Asian Art Museum in Berlin, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

ZAACHARIAHA FIELDING, with his paintings Wonder Drug, 2023, at the Ramsay Art Prize 2023, Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), Adelaide. Photo by Sam Roberts. Courtesy AGSA.

People’s Choice Winner at the Ramsay Art Prize 2023

The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) in Adelaide named Yankunytjatjara artist Zaachariaha Fielding as the winner of the Ramsay Art Prize 2023 People’s Choice. The public voted for Fielding from 27 finalists based on the work Wonder Drug (2023), a suite of 16 works on cardboard representing the demons the artist calls his “gremlins.” “Winning this People’s Choice is the ultimate compliment, as an artist you put yourself out there and a judgement is always coming- good or bad. When people celebrate what you’ve created, there’s a feeling for me of being shoulder to shoulder with them, rather than in front. That is such a beautiful thing,” he commented. As winner Fielding walks away with AUD 15,000 (USD 9,800).  The Ramsay Art Prize 2023 exhibition is open at the AGSA until Sunday August 27.

JAQ GRANTFORD, Through the Window, 2023, oil on canvas, 170 × 131.6 cm. Courtesy Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Winner of Public-Voted Archibald Prize

Melbourne artist Jaq Grantford has won the People’s Choice Award for the 2023 Archibald Prize with her portrait Through the Window (2023). Grantford beat 56 other entries in this public-voted prize organized by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, winning AUD 5,000. The winning work is a depiction of the beloved Australian actress and TV presenter Noni Hazlehurst, best known for presenting the ABC’s children’s show Play School. This is Grantford and Hazlehurst’s second collaboration, as Hazlehurst previously sat for another portrait titled The Story Teller, which is now held in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. The other winners of the prizes were announced earlier this year in May: Julia Gutman, who took home the AUD 100,000 Archibald Prize and Andrea Huelin, who won the Packing Room Prize. The paintings of the Archibald Prize finalists will be on view at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, until September 3.

Cheryl Kwan is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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