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Lord Patten Of Barnes Announces Praemium Imperiale 2021 Laureates

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Each Laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million Yen (c. £100,000).

Lord Patten Of Barnes Announces Praemium Imperiale 2021 Laureates

The Japan Art Association and Lord Patten of Barnes, Praemium Imperiale's International Advisor in the UK, have today announced the recipients of the 2021 Praemium Imperiale Awards:

Painting: Sebastião SALGADO (France/Brazil)

Sculpture: James Turrell (USA)

Architecture: Glenn MURCUTT (Australia)

Music: Yo-Yo Ma (USA)


Each Laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million Yen (c. £100,000). The awards are given by the Japan Art Association under the honorary patronage of His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, younger brother of the Emperor Emeritus of Japan. In addition to the Praemium Imperiale Awards, the 5 million Yen (c. £33,000) Grant for Young Artists has been awarded to The Central Institute for Restoration, founded in 1939 with the aim of conserving and restoring Italy's cultural and artistic heritage, threatened at the time by the outbreak of the Second World War. The Grant will fund 30 student research projects.

The internationally renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado will be the subject of a major exhibition at London's Science Museum this autumn (13 October 2021 - March 2022). The series of 200 breath-taking black and white photographs are drawn from his latest work, Amazônia, a seven-year study of the Amazon ecosystem and the way of life of its indigenous people. The book, Amazônia, was published in May this year. Salgado and his wife Lélia moved to France in 1969 as political refugees from Brazil. Initially trained as an economist, he took up photography full time in 1973. He works thematically, using only natural light, his photos posing serious questions about the imbalance of wealth and the impact of wars and disasters. Since the 1990s, he has been actively involved with environmental and reforestation issues through the Instituto Terra organisation that he and his wife established in his home in Brazil.

Lord Patten remarked: 'Hot on the heels of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics that captured the world's imagination, this year's Praemium Imperiale serves as an opportune reminder of the important contribution that Japan has made in honouring achievement in the arts. As artists and cultural organisations around the world begin to recover from the devastations of the past 18 months, I hope this year's laureates and their important contribution to civilisation will be a source of inspiration for fellow artists, governments and arts lovers.'

Since 1989, the Praemium Imperiale Awards have been given annually in the categories drawn from Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film to cover fields of achievement not represented by the Nobel Prizes. The Laureates are selected from a list submitted by six International Advisors to the Japan Art Association. While maintaining the Awards' original mandate to select candidates who have made a major international impact in their particular field, the International Advisors for the Awards and their committees have been looking beyond their national boundaries for ground-breaking artists to recommend to the Japan Art Association. Former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe has been appointed the latest International Advisor, presiding over the Asian Nomination Committee. He succeeds the late former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone who passed away in November 2019.


Previous British winners include David Hockney, Mona Hatoum, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, David Chipperfield, Judi Dench, Anthony Caro and Tony Cragg.


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