NEW YORK.- Cuban artists Christian Curiel and Amalia Zarranz received a $15,000 fellowship each from the CINTAS and Emilio Sanchez foundations, for their works in visual arts and film. The winners - selected from a group of six finalists - were announced at a press conference at the Americas Society on June 6, where the finalists’ works will be exhibited until June 30. Amalia Zarranz won the Film Screenings prize with the short “TALLgirl”, a 15-minute piece produced in 2001. Christian Curiel won the Visual Arts category with his oil paintings from 2004 and 2005: “Kids Wearing Dreams”, “Bestiary”, “The Day After Saturday (Domingo)”, and “At The Meeting Place, Where Things Change”.
The prize, originally announced at $10,000, was raised to $15,000 following the association of CINTAS Foundation with the newly-formed Emilio Sanchez Foundation for the Visual Arts category, according to Hortensia Sampedro Hacker, president of the CINTAS Foundation. The fellowship for filmmaking is awarded by the CINTAS Foundation and was also increased by 50% from the original $10,000. There were more than 50 applicants for the Visual Arts category, that includes painting, sculpture and photography, and nearly 60 applicants in the films category.
Finalists of the CINTAS/Emilio Sanchez award were Christian Curiel, Felipe Dulzaides, Lilian Garcia-Roig, Neraldo de la Paz (Guerra de la Paz), Orlando Rojas and Amalia Zarranz. The jury was comprised of Gabriela Rangel of the Americas Society; Julian Zugazagoitia of El Museo del Barrio; Sandra Antelo Súarez of TRANS Magazine; and David Kiehl of the Whitney Museum.
Since 1963, the CINTAS Foundation has awarded fellowships annually to artists of Cuban lineage who reside outside of Cuba. This prestigious award has been granted to many artists whose careers have gone on to play an influential role in the development of their disciplines. Past recipients include Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos; playwright Maria Irene Fornes; painters Carlos Alfonzo and Jorge Pardo; photographers Andres Serrano and Luis Mallo; architect Andres Martin Duany; sculptor Maria Elena Gonzales; and composer Orlando Garcia.
This is the first time that the CINTAS Foundation is exhibiting the works of visual arts and film finalists, in partnership with the Americas Society. The awards were established with funds from the estate of the late Oscar B. Cintas, a prominent industrialist and patron of the arts. The program is administered by the CINTAS Foundation Board and the Institute of International Education, the nation’s oldest and most active organization in the field of international education and cultural exchange.
The Americas Society, celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2005, has been consistently discovering and debuting exceptional talents from the Caribbean and its cultural heritage throughout its history. In the early 1970s, Gregory Rabassa translated the quintessential Cuban novel Paradiso by José Lezama Lima under the auspices of the Americas Society’s literature department, while groundbreaking works by visual artists Wifredo Lam, Luis Gispert, and Allora & Calzadilla have been showcased in its gallery and publications.
Christian Curiel’s paintings have been exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad. Exhibitions include: Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, Florida; Museum of Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C.; Fredric Snitzer Gallery; Barbara Gilman Gallery; and Leonard Tachmes Gallery in Miami, Florida. His collected works belong to several private, public and corporate collections, namely the Museum of Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C., and the Hort Collection in New York. Internationally, his works have been part of the Art in Embassies Program in Brazil. Also, the artist is a member of FeCuOp, a collaborative group based in Miami, which experiments with social interactions and art. Curiel is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2004 Robert Schoelkopf Traveling Fellowship from Yale University School of Art, and the Chestler Visual Arts Award. Christian Curiel was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico to Cuban parents. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from the International Fine Arts College in Miami, Florida, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the Yale School of Art.
Amalia Zarranz graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before deciding to step behind the camera herself to make documentary and finally narrative film. She was born in Havana, raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and now lives in New York City. She finished an MFA in Film at Columbia University and received the NEW LINE Cinema Development Award in 2001 to make Mercury In RetrOgrade, with Lea Delaria. Her first narrative short, TALLgirl, was screened at Sundance 2002, Clermont-Ferrand, Uppsala Short Film Festival 2003, and a British Film Institute Tour, among others. TALLgirl went on to The Regional Student Academy Awards and aired for PBS on the 2004 series COLORVISION. Mercury In RetrOgrade continues to screen in film festivals worldwide. Currently, she is working on Social Life of Dogs, a feature screenplay, and her next film.