Artist Alia Farid (SMVisS ’08) has been announced as the recipient of the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter’s Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award. As part of the prize, one of the art world’s largest, Farid will receive $100,000, as well as a solo show at the Oslo museum, to open in 2024. The museum will also acquire her work for its permanent collection.

Farid, who divides her time between Puerto Rico and her native Kuwait, describes herself as working at the intersection of art and architecture. Investigating themes of colonialism and informal networks in a practice encompassing sculpture and video, Farid works towards the goal of illuminating what often goes unseen. “Art is an important part of thinking and understanding things,” said Farid. “Without it, life would be one-dimensional. I live in a society that is ambivalent about supporting art and culture, so having the endorsement of the Lise Wilhelmsen art award program really means a lot to me.”

In a collective statement from the prize jury, they said that Farid has an “extraordinary practice across multiple media [that] raises awareness of highly important topics in our time, whilst carrying a powerful aesthetic and an embedded materiality and sociality that often results in large-scale works.” The jury further noted, “Alia Farid’s complex work mediates between the past and the present and, in a poetic processing, draws out omitted histories that push against standard narratives. She explores questions of conflict and control and how power and violence are inflicted on nature and people.”

Farid holds a BFA from La Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico (Viejo San Juan), a master of science in visual studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MA in museum studies and critical theory from the independent studies program at MACBAin Barcelona. She is currently the subject of three solo exhibitions: at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto; the Rivers Institute, New Orleans; and Chisenhale Gallery, London.

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