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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Artist Lauren Halsey Awarded the 2021 Gwendolyn Knight And Jacob Lawrence Prize By SAM

Lauren Halsey. Photo/Czariah Smith.

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) recently announced the selection of artist Lauren Halsey as the recipient of the 2021 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize. Major funding for the prize is provided by the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation. Halsey will receive a $10,000 award, and her work will be featured in a solo exhibition in SAM’s Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Gallery opening winter 2021 (dates TBA).

Awarded biannually since 2009 to an early career Black artist—defined loosely as an artist in the first decade of their career—the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize recognizes artists who have already contributed significantly to contemporary artistic practice and whose prominence is on the rise. Previous recipients of the prize are now leaders in the field; they include Titus Kaphar (2009), Theaster Gates (2011), LaToya Ruby Frazier (2013), Brenna Youngblood (2015), Sondra Perry (2017), and Aaron Fowler (2019).

Based in Los Angeles, Halsey’s work spans sculpture, installation, and architecture, including site-specific projects, particularly in the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles. It combines found, fabricated, and handmade objects, with an iconography inspired by Afrofuturism and funk, as well as the signs and symbols that populate her local environments in LA.

“I am so honored to be a recipient of the Seattle Art Museum’s Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize and to be part of a cohort of incredible artists who’ve also received the award, “says Lauren Halsey. “It’s my mission to continue my community engagement work with Summaeverythang Community Center as a way to pay respect to their work as legendary artists and educators of the 20th century and beyond.”

Halsey’s solo exhibition at SAM will be curated by Catharina Manchanda, Jon & Mary Shirley Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Director and CEO of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, led the anonymous nomination process this year. Since 2009, she was the founding curator of the prize’s exhibitions. Jackson-Dumont was formerly the Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; prior to that, she was SAM’s former Deputy Director for Education and Public Programs and Adjunct Curator in Modern and Contemporary Art.

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