Since 1976, the Brandywine Workshop and Archives has honored individuals who have excelled in the fine arts as an artist, curator, art historian, patron, or collector. In addition to their achievements in the field, the awards also recognize contributions as an educator or advocate for social change through their work in the arts. This year, we honor a mid-career, Virginia-based artist whose large body of work already reflects a lifetime’s worth of exploration and accomplishments; perhaps the most celebrated contemporary artist on the continent of Africa today; and a legendary American art historian-curator responsible for some of the most historically significant exhibitions of the last three decades.

The Awards Gala is our major fundraising event that supports fees paid to our high school and college level internships at Brandywine. Traditionally, each award presentation is sponsored by patrons who subscribe to a limited edition print(s) created specifically for the Gala by the awardees. These prints will be reproduced over the next several months with much of the work occurring during the summer. If serving as a patron, you must rely upon the quality and value of the artist’s past work knowing that you will benefit with V.I.P. tickets, a discounted retail price on the actual work when finished, and a tax-deductible portion of the overall contribution.

The 2017 Awards Gala is also coinciding with our forty-fifth anniversary. I hope you will read the background information provided in this package on our organization and the artists we are honoring and consider participating as a Patron or Super Patron of the event. If you also choose to attend, we are providing hotel packages and other programs to make it a great weekend in Philly.

An opportunity we would like to share with our patrons is the ability to donate the original print(s) to an institution of your choice at full retail value and/or ticket(s) to a worthy young artist or student, who would otherwise not be able to attend. If you are considering to support and would like to choose one of these options, Brandywine is partnering with several art museums and university collections to create and grow the collections of their prints. We highly recommend any one of these institutions. A full list of these Satellite Collections is provided in the enclosed 2020: The Way Forward brochure.




El Anatsui was born in Ghana and currently lives and works between Ghana and Nigeria. Anatsui is an internationally acclaimed artist who transforms simple materials into complex assemblages that create a distinctive visual impact. His use of liquor bottle caps and cassava graters to create sculptures reflects his interest in reuse, transformation, and an intrinsic desire to connect to his continent while transcending the limitations of place.

Anatsui is well-known for his large scale sculpture composed of thousands of folded and crumpled pieces of metal sourced from local alcohol recycling stations and bound together with copper wire. These intricate works, which can grow to be massive in scale, are both luminous and weighty, meticulously fabricated, and yet malleable.

In 2015, he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, the Venice Biennale’s highest honor. His solo exhibition Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui was organized by the Akron Musuem in Akron, Ohio in 2012 and has since traveled throughout the United States. His work has been featured in many international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale and the Paris Triennial. Anatsui has also been represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery since 2005.

Sonya Clark, Artist-educator is among the youngest ever honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award (formerly the James Van Der Zee Award) of Brandywine.

Born in Washington, DC to parents of Jamaican and Trinidadian heritage, Clark’s art is concerned with objects and their ability to both store and provoke stories surrounding their origins and use. Clark investigates “simple objects as cultural interfaces. Through them I navigate accord and discord. I am instinctively drawn to things that connect to my personal narrative as a point of a departure: a comb, a piece of cloth, or a strand of hair. I wonder how each comes to have meaning collectively. What is the history of the object? How does it function? Why is it made of a certain material? How did its form evolve? These questions and their answers direct the structure, scale, and material choices in my work. Charged with agency, otherwise passive objects have the mysterious ability to reflect or absorb us. I find my image, my personal story, in an object.”

She is the recipient of prestigious awards such as a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, Bellagio Fellowship, and Australian National University Residency. She has exhibited in over 300 museums and her works are in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art and Musées d’Angers, France.

Sonya is an artist in high demand. Since 2006, Professor Clark was chair of the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. After recent stints at the Rome Academy in Italy and Yaddo Artist Colony in Saratoga Springs, NY, she is taking a sabbatical and serving during 2017-2018 as a visiting professor at Amherst College in western Massachusetts. Sonya Clark is producing a limited edition print for Gala Patrons.

Sonya Clark: An Exhibition of New and Existing Work
Ruth E. Fine a Philadelphia native, artist, curator, and writer, she is the former curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Born in Philadelphia, she trained in printmaking and became the curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection before its move to the National Gallery. Her specialty has been one-man exhibitions by artists often associated with contemporary print-publishing workshops including Romare Bearden, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, John Marin and most recently Norman Lewis. Photo of Ruth Fine by Charlotte Daley

Fine recently curated the traveling exhibition Processions: The Art of Norman Lewis in collaboration with PAFA becoming the first comprehensive exhibition exploring Norman Lewis and his contributions. Her work can be viewed here:

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