Young artist Aziz Hazara has been awarded the Future Generation Art Prize of US$100,000 (£76,000) for his video installation documenting the resilience of people in Afghanistan. Through his work Hazara draws attention to his hometown of Kabul, one of the many cities ravaged by war since US military intervention began after 2001.
Bow Echo (2019), which spans across five screens, features several young boys hazardously climbing mountaintops in Kabul. Whilst the brisk wind envelops them, the children attempt to play their vibrantly coloured plastic bugles. The moving piece was previously included in the 2020 edition of the Sydney Biennale.
“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 annual international prize is organised by PinchukArtCentre, a private museum in Kiev, Ukraine. It is one of the biggest awards for emerging artists under the age of 35, with this year’s winner announced via an online ceremony. Hazara received a $60,000 (£45,000) cash prize and $40,000 (£30,000) to fund his artistic practice.
At the ceremony, founder of PinchukArtCentre Victor Pinchuk explained that “this idea of the Future Generation Art Prize came to me in 2008 in the middle of the global financial crisis.”
“Maybe for you—young artists—it would be useful to know and understand that crisis is a fantastic source of inspiration. Nobody can tell us better about this world than great, especially young, emerging artists. You are able to express the future of this world much better than politicians can.”
This year the competition received over 11,000 entries, shortlisting just twenty artists. Alongside Hazara, three runner-up artists were awarded $20,000 (£15,000) each: Agata Ingarden, Mire Lee, and Pedro Neves Marques. A show of the shortlisted nominees will run at PinchukArtCentre until 27 February 2022.