This year’s $50,000 Hudgens Prize will be awarded to one of four Georgia artists, whose work, as a Hudgens Prize finalist, is on view in the Hudgens Prize Finalists’ Exhibition through October 15th.
The Hudgens Prize winner will be announced at the closing reception for the exhibition on Friday, October 7th, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for Art and Learning, in Duluth.
The four finalists were named in April for the prestigious 2023 Hudgens Prize. With a stunning cash award of $50,000 and an invitation for a solo exhibition for one artist, the Hudgens Prize is one of the largest art awards given in the entire nation, and is open only to Georgia residents.
The 2022-23 Hudgens Prize cycle finalists are: Olu Amoda, Shanequa Gay, Jessica Self and Jamele Wright.
The finalists were selected by a jury of esteemed arts leaders, known through the United States and abroad, who are invested in our more local community while, also, representing a broad perspective: Lauren Tate Baeza, Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African American Art at The High Museum of Art; Jamaal Barber, artist, printmaker and professor at Georgia State University; and Thomas (Tom) Francis, painter and Professor Emeritus, Savannah College of Art and Design.
Kate Driscoll, Exhibitions and Public Programs Manager at the Hudgens stated, “We are so proud to continue the prestigious Hudgens Prize competition as a potentially life-changing opportunity for emerging Georgia artists, and we are thrilled for the body of work submitted for consideration. Following the success of the Hudgens Prize Retrospective, celebrating the award’s 10th anniversary in the fall of 2021, it is incredibly exciting to return to another full Prize cycle. We are honored, too, to bring together and work with such an impressive panel of jurors. Our 2022-23 jurors are unique in that they bring to the Hudgens Prize competition both national renown and a personal investment in our community of Georgia artists.”
Olu Amoda artist bio notes that he “has worked consistently over the past three decades to create a sculptural language that has unique character and beauty. Working as a sculptor, muralist, furniture designer, and multimedia artist, Amoda is best known for using repurposed materials found from the detritus of consumer culture. His works often incorporate rusty nails, metal plates, bolts, pipes, and rods, that are welded together to create figures, animals, flora and ambiguous forms. Amoda uses these materials to explore socio-political issues relating to Nigerian culture today, from sex, politics, race and conflict to consumerism and economic distribution”. Amoda graduated in sculpture from Auchi Polytechnic, Nigeria, and received a Master’s Degree of Fine Arts from Georgia Southern University, USA.
Shanequa Gay shares in her artist statement that her work “draws upon ritual and personal memory, storytelling, fantasy, and the deep well of southern black traditions found in her home place of Atlanta. Gay’s fodder is play, indigenous belief systems and the spirit of African-Ascendant Women and girls finding Divinity in self. She is invested in counter narratives, mythology, and the expansion of the black imaginary. Gay engages in this practice through installations, paintings, performance, photography, video and monumental sculptural figures”. Gay received her BA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA from Georgia State University.
Jessica (Jess) Self is a contemporary artist based in Atlanta, GA., who works with wax, wool, and wood to create mixed media figurative sculptures. Self received her BFA from Warren Wilson College (NC) and MFA from Georgia State University.
Jamele Wright is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work “is concerned with the Black American vernacular experience, creating a conversation between family, tradition, the spiritual and material relationships between Africa and the South”. Wright graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Art History, and received his Masters of Fine Art from School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, New York.
The purpose of the Hudgens Prize competition is to elevate and promote the arts in Georgia while offering a transformational opportunity for the winning artist. The Hudgens Prize was last awarded in 2019 to Paul Stephen Benjamin. Benjamin continues to receive nationwide recognition following receipt of the Hudgens Prize award and his solo exhibition at the Hudgens in 2020, including a recent exhibition, Black Form, at Davidson College’s Van Every | Smith Galleries.