2019 Laureates Of The Praemium Imperiale Arts Award Celebrated In Tokyo

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At a ceremony at the Meiji Memorial Hall in Tokyo today, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association, and Princess Hitachi paid homage to the winners of the 2019 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award. Recipients are Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Architecture (U.S.A.); William Kentridge, Painting (South Africa); Mona Hatoum, Sculpture (U.K.); Anne-Sophie Mutter, Music (Germany); and Bando Tamasaburo, Theatre/Film (Japan).

The Praemium Imperiale is the most prestigious and largest global arts prize -- covering the five disciplines of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film. Now in its 31st year, the Praemium Imperiale continues to celebrate the vital importance of the arts in today's world. It gives international recognition to the arts in the same way as the Nobel Prizes.

At the Tokyo ceremony, each laureate received 15 million yen (c. $141,000), a testimonial letter and a medal presented by Prince Hitachi.

"We are profoundly grateful. We were utterly surprised that the work we have created together and as a studio has been recognized by a country and culture that we so esteem. We only hope that we can continue to be worthy of this honor and the responsibility that it represents," said Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

The artists are recognized for the outstanding international impact they had on their field, and for their role in enriching the global community and in contributing to the peace and prosperity of mankind. Biographies of the 2019 winners can be found here.

Leading the American nominating committee as International Advisor to Praemium Imperiale, and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan (2013-2017), Caroline Kennedy said, "This year's laureates have inspired us with their creativity and fierce dedication to bring about a more beautiful, more inclusive and better world. It is with deep gratitude and great joy that we honor them and celebrate their lasting contribution."

The 2019 laureates join a roster of 154 artists, including Cindy Sherman, Shirin Neshat, David Hockney, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa, Philip Glass, Gidon Kremer, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mitsuko Uchida, and Judi Dench. A complete list of winners can be found here.

The Praemium Imperiale was created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, who was the Association's honorary patron for almost six decades. The Association selected the winners based on the recommendations of International Advisors in England, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and the United States. Each advisor leads a nominating committee comprised of prominent cultural experts including curators, educators, producers, presenters and critics from their home country. In addition to Ambassador Kennedy, the other International Advisors are Christopher Patten (U.K.), Jean-Pierre Raffarin (France), Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (Germany), and Lamberto Dini (Italy).

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