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Nomura announces inaugural winners of US$100,000 Emerging Artist Awards
Chung Kuo, 2017-2019. Multi channel HD video, Multi surround sound. Courtesy the artist, JNBY.

KYOTO.- At an award ceremony held today at the Tofukuji temple in Kyoto, Japan, Nomura announced the winners of its first annual Nomura Emerging Artist Awards. Selected by an independent international jury of experts, the awards recognize and support exceptional artists in the early stage of their careers. Each award bears an unrestricted cash gift of US$100,000.

The inaugural winners of the Nomura Emerging Artist Awards are Cheng Ran (born 1981), a Chinese artist who lives and works in Hangzhou, and Cameron Rowland (born 1988), an American artist who lives and works in New York City.

Cheng Ran combines cinema, poetry, drama, fiction and installation in works where meaning is associative and fragmented. Striving to address complex and sensitive spiritual conditions, he brings disparate cultures, social positions and existential questions together, to coexist in a highly stylized scenography. His work has been shown in numerous biennials and museum exhibitions, including the solo exhibition Diary of a Madman at the New Museum in New York City (2017), created through a residency in partnership with K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong. His 9-hour film In the Course of the Miraculous (2015) was conceived during his residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

Cameron Rowland’s work critiques legal and economic structures that enforce contemporary life. Rowland was born in Philadelphia and currently lives and works in Queens, New York. He has had solo exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Établissement d’en Face, Brussels; Galerie Buchholz, Cologne; Fri Art Kunsthalle, Fribourg, Switzerland; Artists Space, New York; and ESSEX STREET, New York. Rowland has participated in group exhibitions at Secession, Vienna; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the São Paulo Biennial, Brazil and elsewhere. Rowland's next solo exhibition will be at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 2020.

Hajime Ikeda, Senior Managing Director of Nomura, said: “We congratulate Cheng Ran and Cameron Rowland on their vital artistic achievements and take great pride in knowing that the Nomura Emerging Artist Award will help them continue their work. The jury has perfectly understood Nomura’s goal of fostering thoughtful, productive innovation, which is as essential to us in our work as it is to today’s artists. We thank the jurors for the expertise and commitment to excellence that they have brought to our Award program.”

To encourage and nurture creativity, Nomura has also established the largest cash award in contemporary visual arts, the annual US$1 million Nomura Art Award, given to an artist who has created a body of work of major cultural significance. To help this artist take on new challenges and embrace change, the prize money will be used in whole or in part to support an ambitious new project that the winner did not previously have the means to realize. The winner of the first Nomura Art Award, selected by the same international jury, will be announced at a gala ceremony in Shanghai in October 2019.

Nomura has a long legacy of taking on new challenges and embracing change. Dating back to its founding by Tokushichi Nomura II, an avid practitioner of the tea ceremony and supporter of Noh theater, the company has a heritage of engagement with the arts.

Award recipients were chosen by a jury made up of some of the world’s most respected museum directors and curators, foundation leaders, and art experts. The jurors are:

• Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, M+

• Kathy Halbreich, Executive Director, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

• Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

• Max Hollein, Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

• Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England

• Allan Schwartzman, Founder and Principal of Art Agency, Partners, and Chairman, Fine Arts Division of Sotheby’s

The late independent curator, critic, author and editor Okwui Enwezor also served on the inaugural jury, which completed its deliberations before his untimely death.

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Kathy Halbreich said: “It is extraordinary and admirable that Nomura has based this award program on the concepts of change and challenge. For the Nomura Emerging Artist Award, the jury has responded by selecting two artists of high purpose, exceptional intellectual ambition, and profound sensitivity to the fast-moving currents of today’s world. We congratulate Cheng Ran and Cameron Rowland and look forward to the upcoming announcement of the winner of the Nomura Art Award.”

The Tofukuji temple, where the award ceremony was held, was established in 1236 and is historically one of the five great temples of Kyoto. Its Sanmon Gate, constructed in 1425, was designated as a National Treasure in 1952 and is generally regarded as one of the oldest and most beautiful of all Zen Buddhist temple gates. The temple’s Honbo garden, laid out in 1939 by the distinguished Mirei Shigemori, is a modern, abstract expression of the simplicity of the Zen gardens of the Kamakura period and is a National Site of Scenic Beauty.

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