Frieze New York 2018

Kapwani Kiwanga Wins Inaugural Frieze Artist Award

The Paris-based artist will realize an open-air installation, exploring freedom of movement and architectures of exclusion, in Randall’s Island Park from May 4–6, 2018

Kapwani Kiwanga, © Bertille Chéret, Courtesy of Galerie Jérôme Poggi

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Kapwani Kiwanga is the winner of the Frieze Artist Award, a major opportunity for an emerging artist launching at Frieze New York 2018.

Curated by Adrienne Edwards (Performa, New York/Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), the Frieze Artist Award forms part of the fair’s non-profit program and is supported by the Luma Foundation.

Kiwanga’s proposal was selected from an international open call, resulting in hundreds of applications from more than 50 countries. The 2018 Artist Award selection jury included Liam Gillick (artist), Eungie Joo (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Pablo León de la Barra (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York) and Adrienne Edwards, chaired by Loring Randolph (Artistic Director, Frieze). Kiwanga receives a budget of up to 30,000 USD and will realize her artwork at Frieze New York.

Edwards said: “I’m thrilled to be launching the Artist Award at Frieze New York with such a strong, thought-provoking artist. Kapwani’s rigorous research and imaginative approach confront audiences with the raw materials and elemental structures of power. I’m looking forward to experiencing Kapwani’s ambitious outdoor artwork in Randall’s Island Park, which will ask poignant questions about our built environment and human histories of control.”

Kiwanga has explored subjects as far-ranging as space travel, anti-colonial struggles, geology and disciplinary architectures, often rooted in her training in anthropology. Part documentary, part fiction, Kiwanga’s works across installation, sound, video and performance unsettle established narratives and create spaces in which marginalized discourse can flourish.

Kiwanga’s winning commission, Shady (working title), will be a large-scale sculptural work made for the open air and installed outside the entrance to Frieze New York. Created with industrial metal and agricultural fabric and punctuated by holes and passageways, the imposing structure will both invite and obstruct movement. The artist’s political choice of Shade Cloth, used in large-scale farming on the African continent and beyond, will speak to the colonial appropriation of land from indigenous communities and the manipulation of the natural environment for economic gain. In these ways, the artist will build on her practice shining new light on the psychological power of design and histories of exclusion.


Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978, Hamilton, Canada) lives and works in Paris, France. She studied Anthropology and Comparative Religion at McGill University in Montreal before taking part in the program La Seine at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. Kiwanga’s work is currently on show as part of Stories for Almost Everyone at the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, 2018) and she has been selected for the 2018 edition of the Glasgow International. Other exhibitions include solo shows at Museé d’art de Joliette (2018), Esker Foundation Contemporary Art Gallery, Calgary (2018), The Power Plant, Toronto (2017) and South London Gallery (2015); and group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018), Tate Liverpool (2017) and Portikus, Frankfurt (2017), among others. Kiwanga’s performances have been presented at Documenta 14, Athens (2017), Momentum 9, Oslo (2017); FRAC, Champagne-Ardenne (2015), Tate Modern, London (2014) and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014), among others.

The launch of the Frieze Artist Award in New York, supported by the Luma Foundation,  follows an established program of Artist Award commissions at Frieze London. The 2017 Frieze Artist Award winner (London) was Kiluanji Kia Henda, whose two-part installation took the cult of Marxism-Leninism in Angola as its starting point. Previous award winners in London include Yuri Pattison (2016), Rachel Rose (2015) and Mélanie Matranga (2014).


Frieze New York: May 4–6, 2018
Randall’s Island Park
New York City