ArtistsInstitutions 26-10-2017

Mona Hatoum receives the 2018 Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award

The Palestinian artist, who was born in Beirut in 1952 but is based in London since 1975, was awarded the 2018 Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award, a prestigious prize recognizing the “work of an artist who has made a profound contribution to contemporary art, influencing their own and subsequent generations of artists”.

Hatoum, who had a  major retrospective at London’s Tate Modern last year, “was chosen in recognition of her pioneering work in performance, installation and sculpture” and for “raising our awareness of non-western perspectives”, said Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery.


Mona Hatoum, Hot Spot. 2006. Courtesy the Artist and Tate Modern.


During Hatoum’s visit to the UK in 1975, the Civil War broke out in Lebanon and the artist was forced into exile. In London, she studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. Over the last forty years, Hatoum’s practice developed around a variety of theoretical frameworks; she is particularly interested in the politics of the body, as well as in thematics such as violence, oppression and voyeurism. While her early work was largely performance-based, the artist begun working mainly with installation and sculpture from the late eighties, creating works that call for interactivity on the part of the viewer.

In 1995, Hatoum was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, and she went on to show at some of the world’s most prestigious art events, including the Venice Biennale and Documenta. She is the fifth artist and the first woman to be awarded the prize, following Sir Howard Hodgkin (2014), Richard Long (2015) Joan Jonas (2016) and Peter Doig. (2017) She will be presented with the prize during an event held at Whitechapel gallery in partnership with Swarovski on January 29, 2018. Her work is currently on show in London as part of the exhibition “Age of Terror: Art since 9/11” at the Imperial War Museum.


Mona Hatoum, Kapan. 2012. Mild steel and glass. Installation at ARTER: 156 x 300 x 330 cm. Photo: Hadiye Cangökçe, courtesy of the Artist.

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