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The two winners of the 60th Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement have been announced as the Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino and the Turkish artist Nil Yalter. The artists, who will be making their debuts at the Biennale, will be presented with the awards at a ceremony during its opening on 20 April next year.
The winners were put forward by Adriano Pedrosa, the curator of the Biennale’s central exhibition, and then approved by the organisation’s board of directors, which is chaired by film producer Roberto Cicutto.
“This decision is particularly meaningful given the title and framework of my exhibition, focused as it is on artists who have travelled and migrated between North and South, Europe and beyond,” Pedrosa said in a statement. “In this sense, my choice rests upon two extraordinary, pioneering women artists who are also migrants and who embody in many ways the spirit of Foreigners Everywhere.”
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Maiolino, who was born in southern Italy in 1942, emigrated with her family first to Caracas before settling in Rio de Janeiro, where she studied at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes. She began her career working primarily with woodcuts, before turning to painting and then performance. More recently she has made work in clay and will be creating sculptures and an installation for her participation in Foreigners Everywhere.
Meanwhile, the self-taught Yalter works in painting, video, sculpture and installation. She was born in Cairo before moving to Istanbul and eventually Paris where she now lives and works. Yalter will exhibit updated versions of two of her best-known works, Exile is a hard job (1975-) and her tent installation Topak Ev (1975).
Previous winners of the Golden Lion lifetime achievement award include Katharina Fritsch and Cecilia Vicuña in 2022, Jimmie Durham in 2019, Carolee Schneemann in 2017 and El Anatsui in 2015.