The initiative started exactly twenty years ago with Coming People
, an annual exhibition featuring work by artists who had recently graduated from Ghent’s visual arts colleges. In 2014, they expanded it into a biennial, national competition and exhibition. With the Prize
, S.M.A.K. and the Friends want to give visibility to the future generation and stimulate it to develop further.
The selection of the laureates for the new Friends of S.M.A.K. Prize took place in 2020. From the 112 portfolios submitted, the jury selected the work of three laureates: Jimena Chávez Delion, Mark Grootes and Angyvir Padilla.
Due to the restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition and award ceremony was postponed until 2021. The work of the three laureates is now being exhibited from Saturday 26 June 2021. On Sunday 3 October, when the exhibition closes, the jury will choose the winner of the Friends of S.M.A.K. Prize based on the work presented. The award comprises 5,000 euros in cash and an invitation to create a solo exhibition for the Friends of S.M.A.K. room. The artist with the most preferential votes from the public will receive the public prize.
On the jury of the Friends of S.M.A.K. Prize 2020-2021 are Sébastien Delot (Director and Curator, Musée LaM, Lille), Anne Wetsi Mpoma (Researcher, Activist and Founder of the organisation Nouveau Système Artistique, Brussels), Eva Wittocx, Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Department, Museum M, Leuven), Philippe Leeman (Chairman Friends of S.M.A.K.), Adriënne van der Werf & Jef Declercq (Members and Curators, Young Friends of S.M.A.K.) and the S.M.A.K. artistic team.