Doris Salcedo Wins $1 Million Nomura Art Award

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  • October 31, 2019

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Doris Salcedo
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Photograph by...

At a gala dinner and ceremony held this evening in Shanghai, China, Nomura announced that the winner of the first annual Nomura Art Award is the renowned Colombian artist Doris Salcedo.

The largest cash prize in contemporary visual arts, the US$1 million Nomura Art Award is given by the decision of an independent, international jury to an artist who has created a body of work of major cultural significance. To help this artist take on new challenges and embrace change, the prize money is used in whole or in part to support an ambitious new project that the winner did not previously have the means to realize.

Nomura’s heritage of engagement with the arts dates to the company’s founding in 1925 by Tokushichi Nomura II, an avid practitioner of the tea ceremony and supporter of Noh theater. The company today connects markets in the East and West through an integrated global network spanning more than 30 countries. In the spirit of its long legacy of encouraging and nurturing creativity, Nomura established the annual Nomura Art Award in 2019.

In announcing the award, Hajime Ikeda, Senior Managing Director of Nomura, said: “We offer this Award to Doris Salcedo in recognition of the deeply meaningful and formally inventive body of work she has created over the past quarter of a century. By selecting her to receive the first Nomura Art Award, the jury has perfectly understood our goal of fostering innovation and striving to deliver a better tomorrow. Like Nomura, Doris Salcedo does not shy away from change but rather is determined to be a game-changer. We are proud that this Award will help her to create her next important project.”

Doris Salcedo said: “The news that I had been chosen to receive the inaugural Nomura Art Award was entirely unexpected and filled me with overwhelming humility and gratitude for the generosity and responsibility that come with this great honor. Producing projects capable of honoring the experience of victims of violence requires a large investment in time and organization, sometimes with many collaborators. Because of this Award, I am now able to move ahead much more quickly than I had expected with a project that is important to me, and that I hope will touch many people. I offer my deepest thanks to Nomura and to the members of the jury.”

Doris Salcedo. Noviembre 6 y 7 2002. Two hundred and eighty wooden chairs and rope. Dimensions variable. Ephemeral public project, Palace of Justice, Bogotá.
Photograph by Sergio Clavijo

Doris Salcedo was chosen to receive the Nomura Art Award by a jury comprising some of the world’s most respected museum directors and curators, foundation leaders and art experts. The jurors are:

·      Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, M+

·      Kathy Halbreich, Executive Director, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

·      Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

·      Max Hollein, Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

·      Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England

Doris Salcedo. Disremembered VII & Disremembered VIII. Silk thread and nickel plated steel, 35 x 21 1/2 x 6 1/4 in; 33 7/8 x 18 1/2 x 5 1/8 in. Private collection.
Harvard Art Museums, Boston Photograph by Harvard Art Museums

·      Allan Schwartzman, Founder and Principal of Art Agency, Partners, and Chairman, Fine Arts Division of Sotheby’s

The late independent curator, critic, author and editor Okwui Enwezor also served on the inaugural jury, which completed its deliberations before his untimely death.

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Nicholas Serota said: “For more than thirty years, Doris Salcedo has been making sculptures and installations that capture the anguish associated with the loss of loved ones and preserve the memory of traumatic events in the long civil war in Colombia. However, her language has an empathy and her materials an everyday character that give her work a universal meaning that speaks to people across the world.”

The Nomura Art Award will help Doris Salcedo continue a major series of her works, titled Acts of Mourning, which she has been creating since 1999. These ephemeral, large-scale works have been made with the collaboration of thousands of people and are intended to give the community symbolic tools to cope with the enduring pain of violent conflict in Colombia.

To date, Doris Salcedo has created and presented the Acts of Mourning in the center of Bogotá, with the most recent—titled Quebrantos (Shattered), a memorial to community leads who have been murdered—performed on June 10, 2019. The artist now intends to continue the series outside of Bogotá, in the remote regions of Colombia that have suffered disproportionately from the civil war.

The Nomura Art Award will help to fund the indispensable research phase of this project, in which the artist visits communities, establishes relationships with the people, listens to their testimonies and eventually develops a piece that she submits to them for realization.

The presentation of the Nomura Art Award to Doris Salcedo was the second major cultural announcement that Nomura has made this year. In May 2019, at a ceremony held at the Tofukuji temple in Kyoto, Japan, Nomura announced the winners of its first annual Nomura Emerging Artist Awards. Conferred by the same jury that has chosen Doris Salcedo, the Nomura Emerging Artist Awards recognize and support exceptional artists in the early stage of their careers. The inaugural winners are Cheng Ran (born 1981), a Chinese artist who lives and works in Hangzhou, and Cameron Rowland (born 1988), and an American artist who lives and works in New York City. Each has received unrestricted cash gift of US$100,000.

Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. and Nomura Real Estate Holdings, Inc. are co-sponsors of the Nomura Art Award. The Art Agency, Partners, a division of Sotheby’s, is serving as an advisor to the Award.

To learn more about the Nomura Art Award, please visit the official website:

About Doris Salcedo
Doris Salcedo was born in 1958 in Bogotá, Colombia, where she lives and works. Her sculptures and installations carve out a space for mourning that is both poignant and insistent. “My work is about the memory of experience, which is always vanishing, not about experiences taken from life,” she has said. Doris Salcedo’s solo exhibitions include shows at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2019); Palacio Cristal, Reina Sofía, Madrid (2017); Harvard Art Museum, MA (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2015), touring to Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Perez Art Museum, Miami (both 2016); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico (2011), touring to Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome and Pinacoteca São Paulo (all 2011); Tate Modern, London (2007); Camden Arts Centre, London (2001); and The New Museum, New York (1998), touring to Tate Britain, London (1999).

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