Indian visual artist and Thai filmmaker win the coveted Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize in 2013.

The Fukuoka Prize, a prestigious award established in 1990 in Kyushu, Japan, announced its prize winners on 7 June 2013. Visual artist Nalini Malani and filmmaker Apitchatpong Weerasethakul won the Arts and Culture Prizes, each worth 3,000,000 yen (USD 30,530).

Fukuoka Prize Ceremony 2012

Fukuoka Prize Ceremony 2012. Image courtesy Fukuoka Prize Committee.

The Fukuoka Prize, based in Fukuoka City, Japan, awarded the Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize 2013 to visual artist Nalini Malani (India) and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand). Nalini Malani creates dream-like installations that reference her Indian culture, and yet reflect on topical concerns. Apichatpong Weerasethakul writes, directs, edits and produces films combining folk tales with personal memories, which are told in a visually innovative style.

Nalini Malani

Nalini Malani was born in 1946 in Karachi, India (now Pakistan since 1947), and received her Diploma in Fine Arts in 1969 from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, India. She received a government scholarship to study art in Paris, and she has been an artist-in-residence in several residencies around the world.

Nalini Malani with Diego Rivera's Mural at the San Francisco Art Iinstitute. Image courtesy the artist.

Nalini Malani with Diego Rivera’s mural at the San Francisco Art Institute. Image courtesy the artist.

Malani has had several solo exhibitions in museums worldwide, including the New Museum (New York), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), and the Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts (Lausanne). Group shows include the 1st Johannesburg Biennale, the 2nd Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Brisbane), Tate Modern (London), and dOCUMENTA (13) (Kassel).

The Fukuoka award citation reads in part: 

Although Ms. Malani uses modern representational techniques such as installations, her art conveys a dreamy quality and a familiar warmth, because of the strong influence on her work of such traditional folk arts as glass painting, shadow play, kaleidoscope lantern and Kalighat paintings with divine images.
The central motif, however, is her response to the serious problems and contradictions which the world faces, including religious conflicts caused by fundamentalism, war and nuclear power, violence and oppression towards women, and environmental destruction.

Nalini Malani, 'Tales of Good and Evil', 2008, digital coloured print on paper Hahnemuhle, bamboo, numbered 2/3, 12 panels: each 68.5 x 68.5 cm, total dimensions: 205.5 x 274 cm. Image courtesy Galerie Lelong, Paris. Copyright Fabrice Gibert.

Nalini Malani, ‘Tales of Good and Evil’, 2008, digital coloured print on paper Hahnemuhle, bamboo, numbered 2/3, 12 panels: each 68.5 x 68.5 cm, total dimensions: 205.5 x 274 cm. Image courtesy Galerie Lelong, Paris.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is an internationally renowned filmmaker from Thailand, born in Bangkok in 1970. He received his BA in Architecture from Khon Kaen University, Thailand, and his MFA in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

His films have won numerous awards such as the Jury Prize (2004) and Palm d’Or (2010) at Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Prize at the 3rd TOKYO FILMeX and the Silpathorn Award from the Thai Ministry of Culture. He was also awarded the prestigious title of Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France, and the Fine Prize at the 55th Carnegie International.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul at Cannes

Apichatpong Weerasethakul at Cannes Film Festival 2010. Image courtesy Fukuoka Prize Committee.

Besides films, Weerasethakul also creates visual art installations that incorporate video, film, and illustration. His work has been shown in noteworthy exhibitions such as dOCUMENTA, Istanbul Biennial, and Sharjah Biennial.

According to the award citation:

Apichatpong, as a standard-bearer for young artists with unconventional approaches to visual expressions, has been greatly inspirational to filmmaking circles across the world, and continues to be creative in diverse areas without getting trapped in conventional ideas of genre.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul in Kyoto. Image courtesy Fukuoka Prize Committee.

Fukuoka Prize

The Fukuoka Prize was established in 1990, in Fukuoka City, Kyushu, Japan. According to their mission statement,

The Fukuoka Prize was established to honour outstanding achievements by individuals or groups/organisations in preserving and creating the unique and diverse cultures of Asia. The aim is to foster and increase awareness of the value of Asian cultures as well as to establish a framework within which Asians can learn from, and share with, each other.

In addition to the two Art and Culture Awards, the Grand Prize was awarded to medical doctor Nakamura Tetsu, Executive Director of Peace Japan Medical Services and representative of Peshawar-kai in Pakistan and Afghanistan, while the Academic Prize was awarded to Tessa Morris-Suzuki, a scholar of Asian studies based in Australia.

Susan Kendzulak


Related Topics: art prizes, promoting art, Thai artists, Indian artists

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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