The Max Mara Art Prize for Women is a prestigious biennial award for emergent female-identifying artists, originated and established in 2005 by Whitechapel Gallery and Max Mara Fashion Group. Collezione Maramotti, home to a world-class contemporary art collection, joined as an additional partner in 2007.
The prize, which reflects Max Mara’s long history of fostering close relationships between art, creativity, and women, aims to promote and nurture women artists at a crucial stage in their careers through increased visibility, as well as by offering the support and resources to develop an ambitious new work which is then presented at a solo exhibition. It is open to female-identifying artists of any age, living and working in the United Kingdom, who have not previously had a major solo survey or exhibition.
It is the only visual art prize of its kind and is premised on a unique format.
Rather than presenting the winner with a single financial reward, the Max Mara Art Prize provides a tailored residency programme in Italy, organized by Collezione Maramotti. This is specifically designed to help evolve the artist’s practice and to develop a new body of work by providing the invaluable resource of time, space, creative and professional support. The artist presents the work at a major exhibition, accompanied by a publication, at both Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, and Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy, giving audiences the opportunity to fully engage with creative process. Collezione Maramotti further acquire the commission for their world-class art collection, ensuring that the relationship with the artist continues beyond the two year prize cycle.
All three partners work collaboratively on each phase of the prize cycle sharing their particular expertise and resources to ensure maximum benefit to the winning artist and project.
For each edition a jury, comprising art world specialists: a gallerist, critic, artist and collector, and chaired by the Whitechapel Gallery Director, submit a longlist of artists, from which a final shortlist of five is agreed, all of whom present a proposal for a new body of work, which responds to , or speaks of, an Italian context.
The winner is then selected on the strength of their proposal, and announced at a special ceremony. The residency programme they then undertake is uniquely tailored to fit the particular needs and focus of their winning proposal. Collezione Maramotti works in collaboration with the artist to ensure that each stage of the residency is overseen by a relevant tutor, who guides the artist in their research, and offers insights and knowledge into Italian culture, and traditions to help inform the final work.
The Max Mara Art Prize for Women is distinct and exceptional in recognising and supporting the creative process and was awarded the British Council Arts & Business International Award in 2007.
Currently in its 9th edition, the next prize cycle (2024-2026) celebrates the 10th anniversary of the prize and confirms its status as a distinctive and invaluable resource for emergent women-identifying artists based in the UK.
Explore the practice of the artists shortlisted for the 9th edition of the prize: Rebecca Bellantoni, Bhajan Hunjan, Onyeka Igwe, Zinzi Minott, and Dominique White.
Dominique White is the winner of the 9th edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Learn more about her practice and winning proposal, Deadweight.
Find out more about the residency organised by Collezione Maramotti, which is specially designed to inform, support and develop the work through dedicated resources and a tailored programme of research, mentoring and skill-building.
Drawing on Whitechapel Gallery’s longstanding commitment and support of women artists, the prize was conceived in 2005 by its former Director, Iwona Blazwick, in collaboration with Max Mara as a way to offer emergent female artists an invaluable and unique framework for the development of both their practice and a new artwork. Collezione Maramotti, which owns and exhibits a world-class collection of contemporary Art, joined as a partner and collaborator in 2007 – the year it officially opened its doors to the public.
Throughout its nearly ten year history the Max Mara Art Prize for Women (MMAP) has been significant in shining a light on emergent female-identifying artists and giving them the time, guidance and resources to create new and extraordinary artworks that speak of – and to – the world around them.
1st Edition: 2005 – 2007
2nd Edition: 2007 – 2009
3rd Edition: 2009 – 2011
4th Edition: 2011 – 2013
5th Edition: 2013 – 2015
6th Edition: 2015 – 2017
7th Edition: 2017 – 2019
8th Edition: 2019 – 2021