Sophia Al-Maria. Mondrian Prize 2023.

Last years Mondrian Prize – also the first! – was awarded to the artist, writer and filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria (b. 1983). Though Sophia’s work spans many disciplines, including drawing, collage, sculpture and film, it is united by a preoccupation with the power of storytelling and myth, with a focus on reimagined histories and alternative futures.

Sophia invited several fellow artists to join her in Laren, to collectively work on a film based on the principles of an exquisite corpse. A little (art) historical background: the exquisite corpse – or cadavre exquis – is a game that gained immense popularity during the rise of the Surrealist movement in the 1920s. Each participant would take turns in drawing or writing on a sheet of paper, followed by folding the paper so its contribution would stay hidden and passing it on to the next player. The result: a usually somewhat bizarre and intuitive work of art! Curious to learn more about Sophia’s work? Keep an eye out on our website and social media during the following months. 

Sophia’s solo exhibitions include Not My Bag, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2023-2024) and Invisible Labors daydream therapy, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2022). Later this year, her work will be on show – together with fellow Laren-visitor Lydia Ourahmane – at Spike Island, Bristol.

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