Despite being popular in a certain section of patrons for many years, artist Cecilia Vicuña never saw the limelight from the mainstream audience. However, this has started to change recently. The latest laurel for the 71-year old artist came from Spain: the highest art award in the country.
The Premio Velázquez de Artes Plásticas is given out by the Spanish Ministry of Culture every year to artists based in Spain or belonging from the larger Ibero-American community. For this year, Cecilia Vicuña was selected as the recipient of the award and the $110,700 prize money. In their statement, the ministry said that she won this award for “outstanding work as a poet, visual artist and activist” and her “multidimensional art that interacts with the earth, written language, and weaving.”
Born in Chile and currently living in New York, Cecilia Vicuña has a long and diverse career behind her. Some of her prominent works include a portrait of Karl Marx (currently on view in the Guggenheim Museum) and sculptures exploring the indigenous life. She has been part of surveys like “Radical Women: Latin American Art” in 2017 and another ongoing one scheduled to next stop at MoCA in North Miami. Vicuña also has an impressive career as a poet and has also written various texts for social causes.
For the 71-year old artist, recognition came late. For most of her career, her works only found a handful of patrons largely because of the political undertones they carried. She was considered an accomplished artist, but not given the recognition she deserved. However, all that changed this year. Her survey at Museum of Modern Art’s rehang debuted last month, while she was also announced as one of the nominees of the prestigious Hugo Boss award. With the Spanish art award, it seems Vicuña’s stars would keep shining some more.