Aziz Hazara, a young artist based in Berlin and Kabul, Afghanistan, is this year’s winner of the Future Generation Art Prize, one of the biggest awards for emerging artists with a take-home prize of $100,000.
The jury also awarded three additional prizes, each with a $20,000 purse, to Agata Ingarden, Mire Lee, and Pedro Neves Marques. Works by these artists and Hazara are currently on view in a show of the shortlisted nominees at the PinchukArtCentre, a private museum in Kyiv founded by collector Victor Pinchuk.
The Future Generation Art Prize is closely watched because it tends to be predictive of young talent on the verge of a breakthrough. It is awarded to artists who are younger than 35, and since the prize was first given out in 2010 has been given to figures like Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Cinthia Marcelle, Dineo Seshee Bopape, and Carlos Motta—all of whom have since achieved greater success in the international circuit.
Hazara won for his video installation Bow Echo (2019), which was featured in the 2020 edition of the Biennale of Sydney. In the five-screen work, young boys are shown ascending treacherous mountaintops, where they blow plastic bugles amid windy conditions. Hazara has said the work is a response to the resistance of the local community within Kabul, where he was born and which has been war-torn since U.S. military intervention began in 2001.
“Touching on cinema, performance, and sound, Bow Echo offers a striking time-based monument to resilience and hope for a geography that has, for many generations, remained under the pressure of various forms of failed governance,” the jury said in a statement. “At the same time, the piece shows how artists continue to imagine complex independent ways of existence even amidst conflicts that seem never-ending.”
The winners of the other three prizes have also been the subject of recent showcases. Ingarden makes surreal sculptures with industrial materials; some can currently be seen in the Art Encounters Contemporary Art Biennial in Timisoara, Romania. Lee creates strange, unsettling sculptures resembling bodies and organs that are currently the subject of a two-person show with H. R. Giger at the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin. Marques recently showed his films about ecology and bodily autonomy in the Liverpool Biennial and the Gwangju Biennale, as well as in solo shows in Spain and Portugal.