This year’s Sotheby’s Prize has been awarded to Indigenous Histories and OPY, two upcoming Brazilian exhibitions that will examine indigenous cultures.
Indigenous Histories is a collection of indigenous works gathered from around the world that span from the 16th century all the way up to the 21st century. It is set to debut at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo in October 2021.
OPY is a joint venture organized by three separate but complimentary institutions: the Brazilian state museum Pinacoteca de São Paulo; the art centre Casa do Povo; and Kalipety, a prayer center based in an indigenous village of the same name (all of which are based in São Paulo). The exhibition will feature a series of performances and seminars by contemporary indigenous artists. It is expected to open in July 2020.
“Our interest in this work is deeply connected to the moment we are living now, about our political reality,” said Jera Guarani, Leader of Kalipety. “We need more than ever to strengthen ourselves as a people that resists—and re-exists—throughout the more than 500 years of contact with the so-called ‘civilized’ people who have only brought destruction upon us. Today, strengthening our culture, strengthening our struggle, means guaranteeing the continuity of our people and the preservation of the little nature that remains.”
The Sotheby’s Prize, now in its third year, comes with a $250,000 award that will be split evenly between the two exhibitions.
“In recognizing these projects, we hope to embrace a city and a country grappling with its biggest and most timely issues—issues that are equally relevant to the rest of the world,” said Allan Schwartzman, co-creator of the prize and chairman of Sotheby’s.
This is the second time that the Sotheby’s Prize was given to two separate exhibitions. In its first year, it was awarded to both the Nasher Museum in North Carolina and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.