Queer|Art, the New York–based nonprofit whose grant-making programs are among the industry’s most-watched, awarded its annual Prize for Recent Work to Anaïs Duplan. Recognizing an outstanding project by a U.S. artist, it carries an unrestricted $10,000 cash prize. Duplan won for his publication Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (2020), a collection of interviews with contemporary artists of color, lyric essays, and ekphrastic poetry. Written during Duplan’s transition, the book deconstructs the relationship between creatives and the shifting definition of “liberation.”
In a statement, the judges said “that they all felt strongly about the quality and politics of Duplan’s writing and the intention behind it; that his voice is one that is rising now, and his voice is one that we’ll be listening to for a long time to come.”
A poet, curator, and artist, Duplan was a 2017–19 joint public programs fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2016, he founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, a residency program for artists of color based in Iowa City.
Upon receiving the prize at an award ceremony at the Whitney Museum in New York, he said, “I’ve been talking with students a lot about this quote from Glissant, a fragment: ‘consent to not be a single being.’ I love that tenderness, that we might think about ourselves as, not individuals in a vacuum, right? Sort of toss out this individual genius model and think more about the beauty that we embody together.”
In 2021, Queer| Art also honored poet and artist Pamela Sneed with its inaugural Black Queer|Art|Mentorship Award for Artists and Organizer, a mentorship award meant to recognize Black artists and organizers “who uplift critical histories of Black queer mentorship and exemplify steadfast commitment to values shared by the QAM community,” according to a press release. In honor of its first awardee, the grant has since been renamed the Pamela Sneed Award for Black Queer|Art|Mentorship Artists & Organizers.
The organization’s fifth annual Prize for Sustained Achievement was also awarded to photographer Lola Flash in recognition of their portraits of the queer community and decades of activism.