Prince celebrates laureates of 2017 Praemium Imperiale at ceremony in Tokyo
Laureates are performer Mikhail Baryshnikov, world music star Youssou N’Dour, architect Rafael Moneo, visual artist Shirin Neshat and sculptor El Anatsui
TOKYO: October 18, 2017 – At a formal ceremony in Tokyo today, His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, paid homage to the laureates of the organization’s 2017 Praemium Imperiale. The 2017 laureates, who have shown extraordinary achievement in the fields of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film, are legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov, world music star Youssou N’Dour, architect Rafael Moneo, visual artist Shirin Neshat and sculptor El Anatsui. Each received a specially-designed gold medal, a testimonial letter from the Prince, and a check for 15 million yen.
Now in its 29th year, the Praemium Imperiale is one of the most prestigious international prizes in the fields of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film. The prize has become a powerful voice for the importance of cultural expression in today’s world, bringing international attention to the arts in much the same way as the Nobel Prize brings attention to the sciences.
In September, The Japan Art Association awarded its other annual prize, the Grant for Young Artists, to Lebanon’s Zoukak Theatre Company. The award, which brings with it 5 million yen, recognizes a group or institution that encourages young people’s involvement in the arts. The Grant for Young Artists was launched in 1997 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Praemium Imperiale.
The Praemium Imperiale
The 2016 Praemium Imperiale laureates join 144 of the greatest cultural figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. They include Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Athol Fugard, Frank Gehry, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Renzo Piano, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich and Ravi Shankar.
The Praemium Imperiale was created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, who was the association’s honorary patron for 58 years.
Cultural and International Leaders Nominate Winners
The laureates of the Praemium Imperiale are chosen by the Japan Art Association from a group of artists nominated by advisors from United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Each advisor is guided by the recommendations of a nominating committee comprising cultural leaders from his home country.
The international advisory panel includes the statesmen and business leaders: William Luers, a former president of the United Nations Association of America and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Lamberto Dini, a former Italian prime minister; Christopher Patten, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and former Chairman of the BBC Trust; Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, President of Germany’s Goethe-Institut; former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin; and Yasuhiro Nakasone, a former Prime Minister of Japan.
The honorary advisors are Jacques Chirac, former President of France; David Rockefeller, Jr., a philanthropist and environmentalist and François Pinault, founder of PPR, the French retail conglomerate.
Previous winners of the Grant for Young Artists include the Instituto Superior de Arte (Cuba); the Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School (Lodz, Poland); the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music (Vietnam); the Ulster Youth Orchestra (Northern Ireland); The Sphinx Organization (Detroit (MI) USA), which develops young Black and Latino classical musicians; and the Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia).