The 2022 Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize

The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) this year launched the inaugural Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize to recognise and celebrate the leading contemporary artists living in Portugal and its diaspora. Lisbon-based Jorge Queiroz was announced as the Grand Prize winner for his work, ‘Duende’ on 12 April and received €25,000.

To enter the 2022 Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize, artists were nominated by a board of independent arts professionals comprising curators, collectors and academics. A judging panel then selected 30 of the nominated artists to go forward to the shortlist, before a final round of judging immediately prior to the opening of the Finalists’ Exhibition at the Palacio das Artes in Porto on 13 April.

The judging panel comprised: Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei; Portuguese visual artist Joana Vasconcelos; founding Director of Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art Vicente Todolí; current Director of Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art Phillippe Vergne; freelance writer and curator David Elliott; Phillips’ International Specialist and Consultant for Portugal and Spain Maura Marvão; and Chief Executive and Director of the Design Museum in London, Tim Marlow.

Jorge Queiroz studied at the Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual in Lisbon and completed his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has exhibited throughout Europe, most recently in a solo exhibition at Fundação Carmona e Costa in Lisbon, Portugal. His work has also been presented at the 26th São Paulo Biennial (2004) and 50th Venice Biennale (2003). He was nominated by designer Armando Cabral.

“It was wonderful and very big surprise to win the 2022 Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize,” said Queiroz. “This piece was made from a text of El Duende written by Federico García Lorca for a literary conference in Madrid. The purpose of both of this Prize and the Students’ Prize is noble and highly commended.”

Judge Joana Vasconcelos said: “Jorge is an amazing artist. I had the privilege of being his colleague in school and in a gallery in France and I am proud to see his amazing career flourish internationally and in Portugal too. His work surprises me every time I see it; it’s also very coherent. It is always a pleasure; he is a great artist.”

The Finalists’ Exhibition opened at the Palacio das Artes in Porto before moving to Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes in Lisbon from 27 May to 18 June. It is currently showing at the Museu Berardo Estremoz until 15 August. Visitors to the exhibitions are invited to vote for their favourite artwork which, together with online votes, will decide the Public Vote Prize of €2,000.

All the shortlisted artworks, except for the Grand Prize winner, are now being sold via a ‘silent auction’ process that will close in early September 2022. The reserve prices range from €1,700 to €24,000, with the option to pay a premium and ‘buy it now’. The proceeds from the auction will be split equally between the artists and SAF, which will use the funds to support expressive arts programmes for disadvantaged children in Portugal.

“It’s a pleasure to be involved in the Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize as a jury member,” said judge Ai Weiwei. “It helped me understand the Portuguese contemporary art scene and the activities relating to it. I hope that the endeavour will have an impact on today’s world. Art has always been used as decoration rather than the questioning of aesthetics and ethics. With the efforts of the participating artists, art may hopefully re-immerse itself in philosophical arguments rather than just being pretty or a mere display of skills. If so, no jury can judge art, and art can only be judged by viewers.”

Howard Bilton, Founder and Chairman of SAF, commented: “This prize showcases the very best artists working in Portugal today as judged by our two boards of independent art experts – the nominators and the judges. Our aim is to give these artists a platform which will allow their work to be seen and appreciated by a new and wider audience. At the same time, we will sell the works to raise substantial funds which we will use to support disadvantaged children throughout Portugal.”

The 2022 Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize is generously sponsored by EON Reality, the world leader in Virtual and Augmented Reality-based knowledge transfer for industry, education and edutainment.

The Prize is supported by Optylon Krea; Logistics Partner: Iberomail Cultural Communications Partner: Sutton; Hotel Partner: Tivoli Hotels & Resorts; Hospitality Partner: Howards Folly Wine.

The Sovereign Art Foundation is registered in Portugal as Associação SAF.

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