Hamilton-born artist Kapwani Kiwanga wins France’s prestigious Prix Marcel Duchamp


Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga has won one of France’s most prestigious visual arts prizes.

The Hamilton-born, Paris-based creator received the Prix Marcel Duchamp, which comes with a cheque for 35,000 euros (the equivalent of roughly $54,000), on Monday.

Her installation, “Flowers for Africa,” is being exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris as part of a group show featuring the prize’s four finalists. 

Kapwani Kiwanga’s win of the Prix Marcel Duchamp comes with a cheque for 35,000 euros and is one of France’s most prestigious visual arts prizes. (Prix Marcel Duchamp)

The work deals with Kiwanga’s recurring themes of colonial appropriation and marginalized histories.

Before attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Kiwanga studied anthropology at McGill University. She often draws from this academic background in her research-based practice spanning sculpture, installation, photography, video and performance.

In addition to having her works exhibited at galleries around the world, Kiwanga won Canada’s Sobey Art Award and the U.S.-based Frieze Artist Award in 2018.

In winning the Sobey Art Award, juror November Paynter said Kiwanga “is particularly interested in the continued force of colonization and how the dynamics of colonial heritage play out similarly across time and space.”

The Association for the International Promotion of French Art awards the Prix Marcel Duchamp annually with the aim of raising the global profile of France’s top contemporary talent.

This year’s runners-up are French-British artist Alice Anderson, Morocco-born artist Hicham Berrada and Chilean artist Enrique Ramirez.

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