Art Basel and BMW are delighted to present Jamal Cyrus (represented by Inman Gallery, Houston) as the next BMW Art Journey winner. The international jury selected him unanimously from a shortlist of three artists whose works were exhibited in the Positions sector at last year’s Art Basel show in Miami Beach.
The notion of the Afro-Atlantic provides the conceptual underpinning for Jamal Cyrus’ (b. 1973) journey. It is, in his own words, “an intercontinental and multinational geography describing the circulation of ideas between Africa, Europe and the Americas.” Inspired in part by Paul Gilroy’s writings from the early 1990s, Cyrus aims to examine the many diverse cultural hybrids that have emerged through protracted interaction between the continents. Such cultural hybrids – molded by forces of conquest, colonization, slavery, industry, migration and philosophy – can be apprehended in the cultural centres Cyrus plans to visit. These include among others the Elmina Castle in Accra, Ghana; the Theatre Champs-Elysees in Paris, France; Brixton's Electric Avenue in London, England; the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; and Congo Square in New Orleans, United States.
At each location, Cyrus will record interviews with artists, musicians, historians and philosophers who engage the creative traditions of the Afro-Atlantic. "The journey promises to be a transformational process involving travel, dialogue, collective imagination and intuitive response that will allow new ideas to surface in my work”, said Cyrus.
Art Basel and BMW will collaborate with the artist to document the journey and share it with a broader public through print publications, online and social media.
The international experts awarding Jamal Cyrus’ journey proposal were Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director, New Museum, New York City; Gabi Ngcobo, Curator, Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Victoria Noorthoorn, Director, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires; Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and Susanne Pfeffer, Director, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt.
The five-member jury, in its joint statement, lauded the exceptional depth and detail of Jamal Cyrus’ proposal and its comprehensive approach to the BMW Art Journey:
“Jamal Cyrus' BMW Art Journey delineates an imaginary geography that transforms relations of power and imposed hierarchies,” the five-member jury stated after its unanimous decision. “His journey combines elements of directed research and open-ended discovery, all within a deeply considered theoretical framework. His project struck us as a profound and sincere search for an understanding of the self, through the artistic lens of an individual who never forgets his role as a teacher, and who therefore foresees the multiplying effect of his experience. Cyrus’ BMW Art Journey will expand and amplify a practice that has already brought much to the conversation around culture, history and identity in the United States.”
In addition to Jamal Cyrus, the shortlisted artists from the Positions sector for emerging artists at Art Basel in Miami Beach included: A.K. Burns (b. 1975) represented by Callicoon Fine Arts, New York and Mariela Scafati (b. 1973) represented by Isla Flotante, Buenos Aires.
The next selections for the BMW Art Journey will take place during Art Basel in Hong Kong on Wednesday, March 28 at the BMW Lounge. The winner of the BMW Art Journey from the Hong Kong show will be announced in early summer 2018.
BMW is a global partner of Art Basel and has supported Art Basel’s three shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong for many years.