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The particular artist scoops the £30, 000 prize for her solo exhibition Centropy at Kunsthalle Basel
Deana Lawson’s graceful explorations of Black living are carefully choreographed, drawing on art history and traditions of photography to propose new means of considering the Dark experience. The majority of her subjects are strangers – they may be cast specifically for each picture – yet there is a powerful intimacy in the portraits. Lawson describes this as a mythological extended family – part of the artist’s continued interest in local community, spirituality, and dreams.
This evening, Lawson was announced as the winner of this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. The New York born-and-bred artist has been awarded the particular prestigious £30, 000 prize for her solo exhibition Centropy at Kunsthalle Basel in 2020.
The work happens to be on show at The Photographers’ Gallery in Soho, where Lawson is exhibiting alongside three other nominees for the prize: Gilles Peress , Jo Ractliffe, and Anastasia Samoylova . The display marks Lawson’s first institutional exhibition in the UK. Her considerable photographs – made between 2013 and 2020 – are encased in mirrored frames, presented alongside holograms and blocks of crystal.
Brett Rogers OBE, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery and Chair of Jury said: “[Deana Lawson’s] work, which reframes plus reclaims the Black encounter, harnesses the traditional and the fresh and opens up a very special connection between the everyday as well as the mystical… The boldness associated with her vision and the empowered sensibility she brings to her protagonists is clearly the consequence of a carefully nuanced collaboration with her cast associated with ‘family’ members, which locations her in a rare place of partner or narrator rather than auteur. ”