In a testament to artistic excellence, Umeda Tetsuya and Oh haji have emerged as the illustrious winners of the fifth Tokyo Contemporary Art Award (TCAA), organized by Tokyo Arts and Space (TOKAS). This prestigious recognition underscores their remarkable contributions to contemporary art, with each artist receiving a monetary prize of 3 million JPY and multifaceted support encompassing overseas activities, exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), and the publication of a monograph.
The award ceremony and symposium, scheduled for February 17, 2024 at MOT, will serve as a platform to celebrate their achievements and engage in thought-provoking discussions. The International Selection Committee, comprising esteemed art professionals, meticulously evaluated the submissions, seeking out exceptional talent that pushes boundaries and challenges conventions.
Despite the prevalence of digital media among the applicants, the committee noted a lack of surprise in terms of media choices, methodologies, and display techniques. However, they were captivated by the personal narratives and aspirations embedded in the works, particularly those delving into issues of nationality, identity, and the collective experiences of marginalized communities.
The committee also commended the artists’ dedication to fostering meaningful relationships with individuals involved in the production process, recognizing the significance of collaboration and trust in shaping impactful artistic expressions. The exploration of themes related to minorities and migration resonated deeply, as these issues transcend national boundaries and offer opportunities for global dialogue and understanding.
Umeda Tetsuya’s profound insights into geopolitical and environmental contexts earned him accolades. His ability to translate these insights into compelling artworks, characterized by poetic and lyrical qualities, demonstrated his exceptional talent in interpreting and transforming physical spaces. His ethical approach, focused on enhancing the viewer’s experience, further solidified his position as a visionary artist.
Oh haji’s work stood out for its harmonious blend of historical narratives and individual stories often overlooked in traditional accounts. Her textile creations, imbued with meticulous craftsmanship and conceptual depth, explored themes of geopolitics, women’s history, and the nuances of migration and immigration. Her intersectional examination of class, labor, gender, and environmental concerns resonated with the committee, highlighting her ability to forge connections between past and present societal issues.
The TCAA, established in 2018 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and TOKAS, aims to empower mid-career artists by providing sustained support over several years. This commitment to nurturing artistic growth and innovation has positioned the award as a catalyst for creative breakthroughs and cultural exploration.