Colombian artist Doris Salcedo spoke today at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Salcedo is the first winner of the Nasher Sculpture Prize. It’s an international award created to champion the art of sculpture. The Nasher Prize comes with $100,000, making it the richest arts award in Texas. Salcedo will accept the award Saturday in a private event.
Salcedo spoke to nearly 400 people, including students, local artists, members of the prize jury and the board of the Sculpture Center. Salcedo’s art is known for its haunting impact. She often uses everyday objects – chairs, rose petals or tables (as in ‘Plegaria Muda’ or ‘silent prayer’ at the Nasher, above) – to conjure the thousands of people lost to political violence, particularly during Colombia’s decades-long turmoil.
“In all of my work,” Salcedo said, “I have focused on political violence, not simply because I am Colombian, but because I strongly believe violence defines our society. And, it is for this reason that for the past 30 years I have remained immersed in mourning, and my work has been the work of mourning.”