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5 Artists, Cultural Charity Win 2018 Præmium Imperiale International Arts Awards





The Japan Art Association announced on Wednesday, July 11, the winners of the 2018 Praemium Imperiale awards, each carrying a prize of JPY ¥15 million (approximately USD $134,000).


Now in its 30th year, the Praemium Imperiale is the world's most prestigious international prize in the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theatre, and film. The awards recognize lifetime achievement in arts categories not covered by the Nobel Prizes, and have become a powerful voice for the importance of culture in today’s world.



Recognized as 2018 Praemium Imperiale Laureates are:

Pierre Alechinsky, Painting (Belgium/France)
Fujiko Nakaya, Sculpture (Japan)
Christian de Portzamparc, Architecture (France)
Riccardo Muti, Music (Italy)
Catherine Deneuve, Theatre/Film (France); and
The Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF), 2018 Grant for Young Artists (United Kingdom)


(Read more about the awardees’ profiles and works here.)


2017 Præmium Imperiale Laureates
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Theatre/Flim (Latvia)
Youssou N’Dour, Music (Senegal)
Rafael Moneo, Architecture (Spain)
Shirin Neshat, Painting (Iran)
El Anatsui, Sculpture (Ghana)



Enriching the Global Community

The artists are recognized and awarded for their achievements, the impact they have had internationally on the arts, and their role in enriching the global community.



In an awards ceremony in Tokyo on October 23, each of them will receive, in addition to the monetary prize, a testimonial letter and a medal presented by Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association.


The Japan Art Association also announced its Grant for Young Artists award award—its annual prize of JPY ¥5 million (approximately USD $45,000) awarded to a group or institution that encourages the involvement of young people in the arts. The Grant for Young Artists was inaugurated in 1997 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Praemium Imperiale.


This year’s Grant for Young Artists has been awarded to the Shakespeare Schools Foundation of the United Kingdom). Ruth Brock, chief executive of the foundation, received the diploma and monetary grant from Hisashi Hieda, chairman of the Japan Art Association, in a press conference at London's Royal Academy of Arts, presided over by Lord Patten of Barnes, UK International Advisor to the Praemium Imperiale.


Past Years’ Laureates

The 2018 laureates join a roster of 149 artists, including Martha Argerich, Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Judi Dench, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Athol Fugard, Frank Gehry, Philip Glass, Zaha Hadid, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Youssou N'Dour, Shirin Neshat, Arvo Pärt, Renzo Piano, Maya Plisetsukaya, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, Martin Scorsese, Ravi Shankar, Cindy Sherman, and Ellen Stewart.



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History of the Awards

The Praemium Imperiale was created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, who was the association's honorary patron for almost six decades.


The association chooses the winners based on the recommendations of individual international advisors in England, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the United States. Each advisor is guided by the recommendations of a nominating committee comprising cultural leaders from his home country. The international advisors are leading figures with a deep interest or involvement in the arts.


What is now known as the Japan Art Association was created in 1879, on the advice of the Meiji Emperor, to encourage Japanese artists and to forge relations with other countries through the arts. The organization and its Ueno Royal Museum have played an active role in Japan's cultural life, presenting exhibitions of traditional arts and art from abroad.