Artists together with Sheila Hicks and Hank Willis Thomas obtain US State Division’s Medal of Arts

On 13 September, the US Division of State’s Workplace of Artwork in Embassies gave its Medal of Arts awards to artists Tony Abeyta, Sheila Hicks, Robert Pruitt, Hank Willis Thomas and Suling Wang. The medals had been introduced by First Woman Jill Biden on the White Home.

The recognised artists symbolize a broad swathe of US visible tradition. Tony Abeyta, a Diné (Navajo) artist from New Mexico, explores themes of household legacy and materials heritage and not too long ago had a solo present on the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe. Sheila Hicks, who traveled by means of 12 nations in South America within the Nineteen Fifties and 60s to find out about Pre-Columbian fiber and crafting methods, is greatest recognized for her experimental weaving and sculptural textile artwork. Robert Pruitt’s life-sized drawings of Black figures incorporate references to hip-hop, comics, science fiction and a number of sides of African American tradition; final yr, he was commissioned to make a portrait of Venus Williams for the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Hank Willis Thomas, recognized for making a 19-ton monument to Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King on the Boston Widespread, co-founded the artist collective For Freedoms in 2016. Suling Wang, who was born in Taiwan, creates large-scale summary work that articulate each the distances and overlaps between Japanese and Western cultures.

The Medal of Arts, created by the Artwork in Embassies programme in partnership with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012, acknowledges artists whose work promotes cultural diplomacy. “Artwork serves as a bridge with different nations, encourages dialogue and expression and highlights the communal expertise of individuals from nations, cultures and backgrounds worldwide,” representatives for the State Division mentioned In an announcement.

“This yr’s honorees, like these earlier than them, selflessly supply their inventive skills to the mission of American cultural diplomacy,” mentioned Megan Beyer, the director of Artwork in Embassies. “Artworks on show in embassies and residences are potent soft-power instruments of diplomacy.”

This yr marks the sixtieth anniversary of Artwork in Embassies, established in 1963 as an extension of a pre-existing program at New York’s Museum of Fashionable Artwork. The exhibitions and collections created consequently “replicate the pleasure and innovation of America’s cultural sector” and have been proven in additional than 200 US embassies and official residencies world wide.

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