TWIN PICKS: Deana Lawson

19.05.2022 | Blog | BY:

Deana Lawson’s work harnesses the tropes of family portraiture to create images at once intimate, familial, and spiritual. This week she has been recognised as the force she is, and awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize for having made the most significant contribution to the world of photography in 2022.

The prize was awarded to Lawson at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, in recognition of her 2020 solo exhibition Centropy at Kunsthalle Basel. Fusing the family album with unsettling elements like ‘portals’ into other worlds, her photography reclaims the Black subject as “creative, godlike beings.” Though her sitters are mostly strangers, Lawson describes her works as the process of building “an ever-expanding mythological extended family” to explore intergenerational relationships and their effects within Black culture.

Brett Rogers OBE, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery and chair of the Jury that named her winner, said:

“Deana Lawson is a deserved winner of this year’s prize not least for the sheer inventiveness and complexity of her approach to image making. Her work, which reframes and reclaims the Black experience, harnesses the traditional and the experimental and opens up a very unique connection between the everyday and the mystical. Her subject matter sits somewhere between the ‘here and now’ and the past, a person and a people, the staged and the naturalistic, in a manner which is not didactic or issue driven, but genuinely radical”.

The presentation at The Photographers’ Gallery marks Lawson’s first institutional show in the UK. The exhibition showcasing the four shortlisted artists for 2022 – Anastasia Samoylova, Jo Ractliffe, Deana Lawson and Gilles Peress – is curated by TPG’s Katrina Schwarz and will be displayed at The Photographers’ Gallery until 12 June 2022.

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